NASA 2013 Budget to be the lowest in four years.

NASA Meatball

NASA Budget to be proposed Monday

On Capitol Hill Feb. 13, President Obama will ask for a $17.7 billion NASA’s 2013 budget sources said Friday. The proposal represents only a slight reduction from the $17.8 billion Congress had previously approved for 2012. Compared to the $18.7 billion Obama proposed for 2013 in the five-year budget he sent to Congress this time last year, it is a 5 percent cut.

In the president’s proposal, the planetary science areas would shoulder a significant portion of the budget cuts and would drop from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion, a 20 percent reduction. The James Webb Space Telescope – JWST has been a major expense for planetary science. James Webb overruns leave only the Mars Science Laboratory mission now on it’s way to Mars, and the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission in 2013. Earth sciences did considerably better. The $1.77 billion allocated in 2012 for building and operating climate-monitoring satellites would rise slightly under this proposal. Other funding for Astrophysics and heliophysics funding, would remain the same.

The SLS program is safe due to congressional mandates. The heavy-lift rocket would get $1.88 billion next year for development.  The the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle would receive $1 billion, around $200 million less than for 2012.

“The president’s budget is just a proposal,” said Howard McCurdy, a space-policy specialist at American University in Washington. The cuts “reflect the new reality” in which the economy, budget deficits, and the federal debt have elbowed their way to the top of Washington’s agenda, McCurdy adds.