The White House has submitted its proposal for a NASA budget for 2021, with the objective of financing the space agency with $ 25.2 billion. NASA says that most, almost $ 13 billion, would go to take Americans to the moon and Mars.
In addition, $ 6.3 billion of the funds would go to science; $ 3.5 billion would finance security and mission services, as well as construction and environmental remediation; $ 1.6 billion would go to exploration technology; and $ 819 million would go to aeronautical research.
NASA aims to be on the moon by 2024, with the White House budget saying that NASA should "build a sustainable presence on the lunar surface as the first steps" of a manned mission to Mars. For these purposes, the White House proposes $ 3.4 billion for NASA to develop landing systems, $ 700 million for lunar surface activities and $ 233 million for Mars robotic missions. The Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion crew capsule, Lunar Gateway and commercial lunar landings for humans and cargo delivery are listed as part of this.
"The budget funds the Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative," says the document, published Monday, "which includes technologies to generate energy, dig and build structures on the moon and help astronauts live on the earth."
"From the lunar orbit gateway, astronauts will need a human landing system to transport them to and from the surface of the moon"NASA tweeted on Monday." The development of this & # 39; critical element of Artemis architecture & # 39; is financed in the fiscal budget of 2021 ".
For the purpose of landing on Mars, the budget proposed to finance a new Mars Ice Mapper mission to search for possible landing sites, and a sample Mars mission to investigate the launch from Mars.
Also included in the budget to receive funds is the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology flight demonstrator to fly in 2022, research into the integration of drones into space and ultra-fast hypersonic flight and hybrid jet engine systems for airplanes. passengers
NASA is not raising funds for its wide-field infrared study telescope; the commitment of the Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); the SOFIA telescope; and two earth science missions, the proposed budget. "The budget continues to support educational activities such as internships and scholarships financed outside the STEM commitment office," the document says.
The budget still needs to be voted by Congress before it is approved.
The increase in funds proposed by NASA of around 12% from 2020 occurs when the Trump administration focuses on, and the establishment last year of the United States Space Command. , with the space now being treated as an independent region to be supervised. Space is critical to "national security and defense of the United States," said President Donald Trump, and is "the next domain of war."
Originally posted on February 10 at 1:00 p.m. PT.
Update, 1:56 p.m. Correction: NASA's budget has not yet been approved by Congress; About half of the $ 25 billion is allocated to the missions of the Moon and Mars.