Congress Allocates $24B for NASA Funding Under Omnibus Bill
Congress appropriators have completed work on an omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2022 that includes over $24.04 billion for NASA. The allocation for the space agency is $760 million below the Biden administration’s request and is around $740 million more than the fiscal 2021 budget.
The funding allocates $1.1 billion for the space technology directorate, $110 million of which will be for the development of nuclear thermal propulsion technologies. Other allocations include $85.2 million for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy program, $1.2 billion for the Human Landing System program, and $101.1 million for the agency’s commercial low Earth orbit development, SpaceNews reported.
The House appropriated the funds for SOFIA despite NASA’s plans to cancel the program due to its high operating cost compared to the benefits that it will provide. The recommendation came from the Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 report.
For the HLS program, both House and Senate appropriators offered $150 million and $100 million more, respectively, than the requested funding. Lawmakers required NASA to provide a report about how it will ensure safety, redundancy, sustainability and competition in the HLS program.
Congress also restricted funding on several programs to 40 percent of allocated levels until the space agency submits a multi-year plan for the Artemis program to lawmakers. The plan must include the schedule for the Space Launch System launches for building the Lunar Gateway, commercial partnerships for additional LEO and lunar rover missions and additional scientific activities on the moon.
The omnibus bill also extends NASA’s authority to allow companies and other organizations to lease its facilities. The original authority expired at the end of 2021.
Tags: Congress funding request Human Landing System NASA omnibus spending bill space SpaceNews Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy