Draft Bill Would Provide NASA $1.3B for HLS Program
The Senate Appropriations Committee is urging NASA to work on a second crewed lunar lander and wants the agency to select a second company to deliver the spacecraft. The request is part of a series of draft bills that were introduced on Monday.
According to draft legislation released by the panel, NASA will receive $24.83 billion in overall funding for fiscal year 2022, over $1.29 billion of which will be used for the HLS program. The committee noted that the funding is enough to allow NASA to execute its mission and rejected claims that Congress is underfunding the project. Appropriators pointed out that the space agency originally predicted that it would need $4.4 billion for the program but only requested $1.195 billion in funding, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.
The overall allocation is around $30 million more than what NASA requested for FY2022 but is less than the $25.04 billion request listed in a draft House of Representatives funding bill.
Bill Nelson, the administrator of the space agency, said NASA still has the funding to execute the HLS program and other missions despite conflicts with the committee.
In addition to the budget allocation, the committee also required NASA to create a plan on how it would support two HLS teams. The plan must include budget projections for FY2023 to FY2026. The agency must submit the roadmap to Congress 30 days after the bill is enacted into law.
While NASA and Senate appropriators are at odds with the HLS program funding, the committee fully funded the space agency’s $101.1 million low-Earth orbit initiative for FY2022. Appropriators said the full funding comes after the organization provided a rationale on how the organization would use the budget allocation.
Tags: Bill Nelson budget Congress HLS House of Representatives Human Landing System NASA Senate Appropriations Committee space SpaceNews