Funding Artemis When Other Things Need Funding

Pace, Bowersox Worry About Artemis Funding, Space Policy Online

"The National Space Council's Scott Pace and NASA's Ken Bowersox both expressed concern about getting the money needed to execute the Artemis program today. Pace thinks that even if Congress approves the 12 percent increase for NASA this year, the agency's budget will grow only at the rate of inflation thereafter. Bowersox said although Congress has given NASA a lot of money already, he senses they are not yet convinced of the need to get back to the Moon by 2024. Both spoke to a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine."

S. 2800, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2019 - As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on November 13, 2019, CBO

"The bill would
• Authorize appropriations totaling $22.8 billion in 2020 for activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and would provide direction on those activities
• Extend operation of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030
• Extend NASA's authority to enter into enhanced-use lease (EUL) agreements
• Permit NASA to increase voluntary separation incentive payments from $25,000 to $40,000

Estimated budgetary effects would primarily stem from
• Extending operations of the ISS
• Spending of the authorized appropriations
• Potential use of third-party financing to construct and renovate facilities for energy production, launch, and other specialized uses under EUL agreements

Areas of significant uncertainty include
• Estimating the value of investments and amount of government use of facilities constructed by third parties under EUL agreements."

Keith's note: Given the pandemic-induced economic crisis and what will be needed to dig out of it, the probability that there will be adequate funds for a sprint program to land on the Moon by 2024, is rapidly evaporating. Add in chronic delays and cost overruns for the SLS/Orion, chaotic management continuity at HEOMD, Congressional doubts, and a presidential election with an inevitable re-evaluation of space goals and possibly an acting Administrator, and the chance that this will happen at all is minimal. Even if this Administration gets a second term NASA has not done what is necessary to pull this off.

Look at what the Congressional Budget Office put into their analysis. What happens if NASA does not get funding at the $22 billion level in the next few years? They will either have to cut or cancel things - or delay things which simply ends up costing more in the end. And oh yes, there's a lot of old stuff at NASA that is falling apart and new facilities that need to be built. The only possible hope NASA can cling to is a huge infrastructure/recovery/stimulus package as we emerge from our current troubles that would enhance government spending. But hope is not the best basis upon which to plan a high speed return to the Moon.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 9, 2020 11:32 PM.

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