Congress busy considering space funding and authorizations

Congress has spent the past few weeks hammering out next year’s authorizations and funding decisions.

On the policy side, Chips and Science passed in both the House and Senate last week. On the funding side, policymakers are reviewing and revising next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will provide funding for military space programs.

chips and science

An authorization bill for NASA was included in creating the Final Supporting Incentives for Building Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act — the first new authorization the agency received in more than five years.

Authority vs Budget: The authorization bill is a policy bill under the CHIPS Act, which means it has not provided or recommended any new funding to the agency. NASA funding is determined through the president federal budget requestWhich was released for FY23 at the end of March.

Instead, the authority shows official federal support for a wide range of NASA programs and initiatives. The Chips and Science Act allocates $280B for semiconductor manufacturing and R&D, but none of that funding is earmarked for NASA.

Yes, please: NASA authorization strengthens federal support for NASA’s marquee programs. This includes Artemis, with an emphasis on Mars as the final destination for the next chapter of Solar System exploration.

The bill also reaffirms the intention of the US government to increase ISS operations from 2024 to 2030. This has been NASA’s stance for some time, but in light of Recent statements from RoscosmosOfficial federal support is an important sign.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “With this authorization, along with the strong support of the Biden-Harris administration, NASA will continue to advance scientific discoveries, enable sustainable aviation, address climate change and much more.” ” Told,

NDAA and Space

Next year’s NDAA is making its way through an in-depth review process. The Senate has not yet voted on the bill.

On Friday, the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee released its markup of the bill. This latest version would provide $792.1B for the Pentagon, or $63.6B more than the FY22 enacted level. Space is listed as a priority Chairman’s Summary$2.2 billion has been earmarked for promoting R&D of resilient space capabilities.

Top projects, broken down:

  1. $400M for the LEO missile-tracking and early warning system.
  2. $300M for MEO missile-tracking constellation development with a focus on the polar regions.
  3. $250M for USSF training infrastructure.
  4. $216M to purchase two additional launches for the DoD’s missile-tracking system.
  5. $100M for tactically responsive launch efforts.

while we are here

Last Friday, the Senate released a draft appropriations bill that would fund NASA at ~$26B, the full amount requested for fiscal 2013, but with slightly changed mission priorities. Funding for space technology was cut while science and exploration missions were boosted. Call it the James Webb Space Telescope’s halo effect?

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