A budget proposal released by the Biden administration for fiscal year 2022 includes an increased NASA budget.
Released April 9, the 58-page budget proposal is an initial look at how the Biden administration plans to utilise its discretionary spending next year. A more detailed look at the administration’s priorities will be included in the full budget, which is slated to be released in the second quarter of 2021.
The proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 includes an overall budget for NASA of $24.7 billion, up from the $23.271 received by the agency in 2021. The bulk of the increase is earmarked for the Earth science and space technology programs.
“The president’s discretionary request increases NASA’s ability to better understand Earth and further monitor and predict the impacts of climate change,” said acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk. “It also gives us the necessary resources to continue advancing America’s bipartisan Moon to Mars space exploration plan, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under the Artemis program.”
Although the proposal did not give a detailed breakdown of NASA spending, it did highlight key areas.
The largest spending increase from 2021 has been earmarked for NASA’s space technology program. With an additional $300 million in funding, an increase of 27%, the program will be tasked with enhancing capabilities while reducing costs enabling the county’s commercial space industry to grow.
Other significant spending increases include a 15% increase for the agency’s Earth science program to “study pressing climate science questions”, and a 5% increase for NASA’s human exploration program.
Although the document does not detail how the additional $325 million will be spent, it does state that the funding will be used “for the Artemis program, a series of crewed exploration missions to the lunar surface and 35 beyond.”
The single line is the only mention of NASA’s efforts to return human beings to the surface of the Moon. It does not address the likelihood of the agency achieving this feat by 2024, an ambitious goal set by the Trump administration.