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Congress Trims 2024 NASA Budget, Shelves Decision on Mars Sample Return Funding

Space exploration budget

Congress Trims 2024 NASA Budget, Shelves Decision on Mars Sample Return Funding

The House and Senate budget committees have approved a $24.875 billion 2024 NASA spending bill, down 2 percent from the 2023 budget and 8.5 percent less than the agency’s proposed $27.185 billion appropriation for 2024. 

The congressional appropriations bill shelved funding decision on NASA’s Mars Sample Return program, as the agency is reexamining the MSR architecture through the MSR Independent Review Board Response Team. The bill’s accompanying report directs the agency to submit its report on MSR funding of between $300 million in the Senate bill and $949.3 million in the House version, Space News reported Sunday.

Because of the MSR program budget’s lack of certainty, the agency reduced activities in three MSR field centers in November, resulting in the layoff of 8 percent of the staff in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the MSR’s lead center.

A $227 million provision for NASA’s On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing program is also included in the budget bill’s report, although the agency announced on March 1 a plan to cancel it.

Big-ticket items in the budget bill include $2.6 billion for the Space Launch System, $1.88 billion for the Human Landing System and $1.339 billion for the Orion program.

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Category: Space

Tags: Mars Sample Return MSR funding NASA space Space News spending bill US Congress