Space exploration doesn't just happen—it is made through the decisions of government, budgets, policy documents, and by individuals and industries. Space exploration is for all of us, but only by understanding the politics of space can we make it happen.
The story of NASA's 2015 budget ended on December 16th, when President Barack Obama signed the massive omnibus spending bill into law. NASA's increased budget is locked in, as is the increase to Planetary Science. Here's how Planetary spends its additional money.
Senate passes the CRomnibus spending bill with an $18.01 billion NASA budget, which includes an increase to planetary science and Europa. The legislation now moves on to the President for his signature.
The U.S. budget cycle for fiscal year 2015 is coming to an end. Should Congress pass the so-called CRomnibus bill as-is, NASA would see its highest funding level since 2011 and a great increase to its Planetary Science Division.
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.