The Senate committee recently passed NASA’s new budget, and another version was just passed in the House committee. It’s not the Obama plan and it’s not what we have now. It’s a mix of old and new and newer.
Let’s be honest. I’m a fan of NASA and space, and I’ll be pretty happy with anything that involves NASA going to space. Or anyone going to space. It’s progress that I want to see. So even though I didn’t think the Orion Program was a very good idea, I accepted it because it got us to space. Eventually.
So, what does this new budget do to NASA?
The biggest thing is that it takes away a lot of support for the commercial space industry. Obama proposed $6 billion over the next five years, the Senate cut it back to $1.5 billion, and the House cut it back to $750 million. $500 million of that are in the form of loans. Yikes, big shift.
The Senate bill called for more shuttle launches, the House version did not.
The Senate version of the bill called for a new heavy-lift rocket to begin development ASAP. The House version seemed to hint that they would like to see continuous development for the Ares rockets.
There seems to be a lot the Senate and House need to work out, I’m guessing the budget talks are very far from over. It’s going to be interesting to see how things turn out.
A few thoughts. I, 100 percent, support the commercial space flight industry. I would like to see more support in the budget for this. I kind of like the idea of loans rather than direct financing; it encourages the private industry to be successful and produce a well made, reliable product needed to pay back the loans.
I like the Senate’s plan to build a heavy lift rocket sooner than later. Progress.
When the final budget is passed, I’ll take a DC Skeptic’s look at it.