CBO Says $2 Billion Boost Needed To Avoid Delay Of
According to a report released last week by the Congressional
Budget Office, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
will fail to meet its projected schedule over the next decade,
unless funding to the agency is increased by $2 billion a year.
Florida Today reports that based on the analysis of budget
scenarios to fulfill plans for NASA mapped out by President George
W. Bush in 2004, the CBO said, "If NASA's funding was maintained at
$19.1 billion annually and the agency realized cost growth in its
programs consistent with the average for 72 of its past programs,
its planned schedules for spaceflight programs would be
At the current funding level, the report said "the initial
operating capability for Ares 1 and Orion would be pushed to late
2016; the return of humans to the moon would slip (from 2020) to
2023; and 15 of 79 science missions would be delayed beyond
In its analysis, the CBO also projected probable outcomes of
increasing NASA's budget:
With a $2 billion increase to $21.1 billion annually, the
Constellation program and the Shuttle program retirement would be
able to meet planned schedules, but 15 out of 79 planned space
missions would have to be cut or delayed until after 2025.
With a nearly $4 billion increase to $23.8 billion annually, the
Constellation program and planned missions would stay on schedule,
and the Shuttle program could be extended until 2015 - thus
eliminating the gap in US spaceflight capability to the
International Space Station.
A recent statement written by former astronaut James
Lovell calls for sufficient financing for NASA to
complete the work it has started. In part, it reads, "It is
imperative that NASA receive sufficient funds from the national
budget to move on to the next phase of space exploration under the
"Provided that President Obama holds true on his promise of $2
billion in additional funding for the program, NASA will be able to
continue its great work and ensure that hundreds of thousands keep
their jobs, allowing the work and dollars for the space program to
remain within the US economy.
"This is not a bailout for the agency, but necessary financing
to accomplish all that NASA has been tasked with doing."