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Message From the Acting NASA Administrator: Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2017

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In keeping with our commitment to sharing agency news with you as we receive it, I wanted to tell you about NASA's Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

The President mentioned in his speech to both houses of Congress that, "American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream." NASA is already working toward that goal, and we look forward to exciting achievements that this budget will help us reach.

You continue to do amazing work to develop and launch our missions and increase this nation's technical capabilities across the board. America needs NASA more than ever, and the agency's work every single day is vitally important.

While more detailed budget information will be released in May, we have received a top line budget number for the agency as part of an overall government budget rollout of more than $19 billion. This is in line with our funding in recent years, and will enable us to effectively execute our core mission for the nation, even during these times of fiscal constraint.

While the budget and appropriation process still has a long way to go, this budget enables us to continue our work with industry to enhance government capabilities, send humans deeper into space, continue our innovative aeronautics efforts and explore our universe.

The budget supports our continued leadership in commercial space, which has demonstrated success through multiple cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station, and is on target to begin launches of astronauts from U.S. soil in the near future.

The budget also bolsters our ongoing work to send humans deeper into space and the technologies that will require.

As discussions about this budget proposal begin with Congress, we continue to operate under the funding provided by a Continuing Resolution that runs through April 28.

Overall science funding is stable, although some missions in development will not go forward and others will see increases. We remain committed to studying our home planet and the universe, but are reshaping our focus within the resources available to us – a budget not far from where we have been in recent years, and which enables our wide ranging science work on many fronts.

This budget also keeps aeronautics on stable footing allowing us to continue our forward movement in many areas including the New Aviation Horizon initiative.

While this budget no longer funds a formal Office of Education, NASA will continue to inspire the next generation through our missions and channel education efforts in a more focused way through the robust portfolio of our Science Mission Directorate. We will also continue to use every opportunity to support the next generation through engagement in our missions and the many ways that our work encourages the public to discover more.

We remain committed to the next human missions to deep space, but we will not pursue the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) with this budget. This doesn't mean, however, that the hard work of the teams already working on ARM will be lost. We will continue the solar electric propulsion efforts benefitting from those developments for future in space transportation initiatives. I have had personal involvement with this team and their progress for the past few years, and I am extremely proud of their efforts to advance this mission.

While I feel this is a positive budget overall for NASA, I know parts of the budget will create concerns for some. I want to reiterate that we are committed to NASA's core mission of exploration – in all the ways we carry that out. I value each employee and the skills and dedication you bring to this work.

As I mentioned, we'll have the breakdown from the top line request sometime in May. In the meantime, I will host an Agency update with our acting CFO, Andrew Hunter on Monday at 11 a.m. EDT, and we will share further details of this budget request.

As with any budget, we have greater aspirations than we have means, but this blueprint provides us with considerable resources to carry out our mission, and I know we will make this nation proud.

Again, this is just the start of the Fiscal Year '18 budget process, so please continue on the course we have been forging together. Our nation needs NASA more than ever, and your work every single day is making a difference in advancing human knowledge and discovery!

Thank you and look forward to sharing more on Monday,

Robert

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