May 04 2017

Shelby Announces Critical Funding for Human Space Exploration

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), today announced finalization of the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill, which contains critical funding for human space exploration. The legislation provides $19.7 billion to NASA, $2.15 billion of which is allocated to rocket development and testing for the Space Launch System (SLS) currently underway at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

“This bill helps to maintain American leadership in space by funding the development and construction of the Space Launch System in support of expanding human exploration of space,” said Senator Shelby. “The heavy lift rocket will help us explore farther into space than ever before, and with support from this Committee, we will continue to make progress towards the creation of this unparalleled launch capability. This bill also includes funding for NASA science missions, which will expand our understanding of space and inspire our nation’s next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Background

  • NASA: Provides $19.7 billion, which is an increase of $368 million over the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level and $1.39 billion over President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request. An additional $109 million for disaster repairs to NASA owned facilities is also included in the FY2017 bill.
  • Space Launch System (SLS): Funds SLS at $2.15 billion, which is $920 million above the former President’s request and $150 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 level. Within the funding for SLS is $300 million for development of a human rated Exploration upper stage engine that will enable crewed missions to travel to the Moon and Mars.
    • An additional $109 million in construction funding is included for the repair of damage caused by natural disasters to NASA owned facilities, such as the Michaud Assembly Facility, which builds the core components of the Space Launch System.
  • Orion Capsule: Funds Orion at $1.35 billion, which is $297 million above the former President’s request and $80 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 level. The funding level will maintain readiness for the SLS and Orion EM-1 test launch in 2018 and a crewed launch in 2021.
  • NASA Space Technology, Nuclear Propulsion: Provides $35 million for advancing the technologies for nuclear thermal propulsion that will help provide significantly faster transit times for missions than current propulsion options. The ongoing propulsion development work done at Marshall Space Flight Center will further NASA’s exploration goals by supporting efficient transport of cargo and science payloads, and reducing crews' exposure to harmful space radiation and other effects of long-term space missions.
  • NASA Space Technology, Small Launch Vehicle: Provides $30 million for development of a small launch technology platform within NASA’s Space Technology Flight Opportunities program. This system is to leverage current launch vehicle technologies and be able to launch small satellites into orbit.
  • NASA Additive Manufacturing: Provides $25 million for continued work in additive manufacturing as part of the NASA’s Space Technology program activities. The work at Marshall Space Flight Center directly contributes to taking a project from conception to manufac¬turing and testing, resulting in flight-ready hardware for use in current and future exploration missions.
  • NASA EPSCoR: Maintains Fiscal Year 2016 funding at $18 million, which is twice as much as the former President’s requested level of $9 million.
  • National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program: Maintains Fiscal Year 2016 funding at $40 million, which is $16 million above the former President’s requested level of $24 million.