With the president’s fiscal year 2015 budget released yesterday, one particular agency is getting one step closer to a really cool mission.
Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, said the budget keeps the space agency on track to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. The Obama administration has invested more than $100 billion in NASA over the past six years, including the $17.5 billion requested in the FY 2015 budget.
The Mars mission has had several milestones lately. Last week, NASA kicked off the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, the first of five Earth science launches this year. NASA also expects to launch Orion on its first flight test later this year.
“This budget ensures that the United States will remain the world’s leader in space exploration and scientific discovery for years to come,” Bolden said in a statement. “The budget supports the administration’s commitment that NASA be a catalyst for the growth of a vibrant American commercial space industry, and keeps us on target to launch American astronauts from right here in the USA by 2017, ending our reliance on others to get into space and freeing us up to carry out even more ambitious missions beyond low-Earth orbit.”
The budget also keeps NASA on the right path to redirect asteroids, by funding the Space Launch System, the Orion crew vehicle and asteroid technologies. Bolden said the budget funds all elements and will actually increase funding for technology development and other efforts that will support a crewed flight of SLS to an asteroid.
“All of the investments we make at NASA help drive technology and innovation, spur economic activity and create jobs,” Bolden said. “That is why under the president’s Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, with congressional approval, NASA will receive nearly $900 million in additional funding in FY15 to focus on specific priorities. This ‘invest in America’ initiative recognizes that the type of innovation and technology development we do helps create opportunity, grow our economy and secure our future.”
In the coming year, Bolden said in addition to the Mars mission, the budget will also fund the formulation for a mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, as well as fund science missions to further study the solar system, including trips to Jupiter and Pluto.