On Monday, Jason Callahan published an article in The Space Review discussing the importance of aligning the goals of federally funded scientific communities with national priorities. This post highlights some of the main points of the article and suggests a possible role for The Planetary Society.
The Consequences of the 2014 Midterm Elections for NASA
Some priority shifts, but there is unlikely to be a major change the direction of the space program
A Republican Senate will not drastically change the course of the nation's space program, though it will likely see less funding for NASA and a difficult path forward for the Asteroid Retrieval Mission.
Happy Fiscal Year 2015! Though NASA Still Doesn't Have a Budget
Congress extends 2014 funding for a few months during election season
Congress passed a stopgap spending bill before taking off to campaign for re-election, keeping NASA's 2015 budget in limbo for another two months.
Society President Dr. Jim Bell provided expert testimony at a September hearing on the state (and fate) of planetary science.
The history of planetary exploration repeats itself starting with a resurgent program in the 90s and 2000s that launched a new fleet of planetary spacecraft. Like our first story, this great success rewarded by deep budget cuts.
NASA's Budget Stalls Out
...as do all budgets for 2015
Congress has all but given up its goal of passing a budget before the end of this fiscal year in September. Instead, we will likely see a temporary extension through the elections in November.
For the second day in a row, the Senate failed to vote on a bill that would fund NASA and other agencies in 2015. Without passage, no progress can be made addressing the flaws contained within.
One Number, Two Budgets
The Senate and House have both agreed to increase NASA's budget to $17.9B, but they have very different ways of spending that money
The Senate and House have both agreed to increase NASA's budget to $17.9 billion, but they have very different ways of spending that money. The House bill would add additional funding to almost every category of the Planetary Science budget and would greatly strengthen NASA’s program of planetary exploration. The Senate bill would add substantial funds to the Mars program but pay for this by cuts to other portions of the planetary budget.
The last six weeks have been especially busy due to an unusually high number of conferences and festivals, so I thought I'd summarize what's been going on and how The Planetary Society has been involved.
[Updated] The Senate Proposes $17.9B for NASA, Matching the House's Increase
Senate committee "deeply disappointed" with the President's budget cut for NASA
The Senate released early details about its budget for NASA in 2015. The top-line level, $17.9 billion, is an increase over the President's proposal and matches the level passed by the full House last week.
There's an old saying about Washington, D.C.: it’s a small town, based on relationships. We are establishing very good relationships with members of the U.S. Congress and the Administration. Three of us made the rounds recently, going from one Congressional Member’s office to another to support planetary exploration and a mission to Europa. Our team included Casey Dreier, our Director of Advocacy; Bill Adkins, our lobbyist in Washington; and me.
During the floor debate for the House's budget for NASA and other agencies, three members of Congress submitted amendments to shift money from NASA to other programs. We noticed.
The House Passes a $435 Million Increase to NASA's Budget
Vote of 321-87 provides an extra $435 million above the President's 2015 request
After a multi-day floor debate, the House of Representatives passed its Commerce-Justice-Science funding bill, which included a NASA budget $435 million above the President's 2015 request and an increase to planetary science.
A Reluctant Dance Towards Europa
or, Why A Credible Europa Mission is Likely to Cost ~$2B
For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. Recently, NASA has said maybe on another night but only if it’s a cheap date. While NASA says no for now, Congress looks to be willing to slip the band a cool $100M – on top of $150M already paid – to keep the music playing, but (to keep the metaphor going) has not been willing to fully commit itself to paying the bigger bill to rent the dance hall. The dance, of course, is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.
An Update on Advocacy Fundraising
We're close to $100,000 of our $125,000 goal
Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/13 02:39 CDT
Last month, we asked our supporters to help us raise at least $125,000 to support our advocacy program that works to fund planetary exploration and NASA. We've raised nearly $100,000, but need help reaching our stretch goal.
Wow, an Increase of $170 million for Planetary Exploration
The House comes through yet again
The House revealed details of its draft NASA budget today, including an increase of $170 million to Planetary Science above the White House's request for 2015, putting it within spitting distance of our goal of $1.5 billion.
The House Proposes an Extra $435 million for NASA next year
A powerful statement of support for NASA, will the Senate follow?
Budget season is in full swing in Washington, D.C., and we're starting to see indications of how NASA will fare this year. I have to say, things are looking pretty promising.