The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) applauds Congress for its passage of the FY2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act with strong funding levels for NASA’s exploration and space science programs. The bill increases funding for NASA by more than $1.29 billion (B) above the appropriated FY 2019 levels, with a $200 million (M) increase to space science missions and nearly $900M increase for human exploration.
NASA’s deep space human exploration systems – the Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion crew vehicle, and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) – received funding to accelerate progress toward the first test flight of the integrated system (Artemis-1, also known as Exploration Mission-1), to fly crew to lunar orbit as early as possible on (Artemis-2), and to continue development of capabilities for future missions, with the programs receiving $2.585.9B, $1.406.7B, and $590M respectively. The bill also provides for continued development of the Exploration Upper Stage ($300M of SLS funding) to complete development as soon as possible. The bill specifies the use of the SLS for Europa missions currently under development and to build the lunar Gateway.
Exploration Research and Development received $1.435, including $450M for the lunar Gateway, $600M for Advanced Cislunar and Surface Capabilities (including human lander systems), $140M for the human research program, and $245M for Advanced Exploration Systems. The International Space Station program, including Commercial Crew and Cargo transportation, is fully funded as part of the Space Operations budget, which received $4.14B.
With regard to science, the bill provides $423M for the James Webb Space Telescope, $510.7M for WFIRST development activities, $592.6M for Europa Clipper and Lander missions, $300M for Lunar Discovery and Exploration activities, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and $170M for Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), among other missions and initiatives. The Planetary, Astrophysics, and Heliophysics divisions received robust funding. The Coalition also welcomes the strong funding of $110M for thermal nuclear propulsion included in the Space Technology Directorate to support advanced propulsion for future exploration missions.
“This record high level of funding for NASA reflects bipartisan, bicameral support for the agency and a deep and abiding commitment in Congress to our nation’s human exploration and space science programs,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, CEO and President of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration. “The Coalition and its member companies thank Chairman Serrano, Ranking Member Aderholt, Chairman Moran and Ranking Member Shaheen for their leadership and support across the broad range of NASA’s exploration, science, and technology priorities.”