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The Biden administration is boosting support for human spaceflight, aiming to put the first woman and person of color on the moon.
President Joe Biden‘s fiscal 2023 budget requests $26 billion for NASA, including a $1.1 billion increase for lunar exploration under the Artemis program.
The agency’s total funding would be an 11.6% increase from the fiscal 2021 enacted level, according to the administration. Agencies were operating under fiscal 2021 spending levels, with some adjustments, until passage of this month’s fiscal 2022 spending law.
The $7.5 billion request for the Artemis program, lunar exploration missions that could finally bring astronauts to the moon as early as 2025, comes as privately funded civilian space missions by America’s ultra-wealthy are growing. The agency’s planned moon trips would also include astronauts from other nations.
In 2021, Elon Musk’s SpaceX took four passengers on a three-day orbital trip around Earth and on Tuesday, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC plans to launch a six-member crew into suborbital space. Bezos also previously left Earth, in his company-funded New Shepard rocket ship last summer.
The administration wants to set aside $972 million for NASA’s aeronautics research directorate, which includes a private-sector partnership to develop a model for the next-generation airliner.
The request includes $224 million to develop commercial space stations after the retirement of the International Space Station in 2030; $480 million for robotic lunar missions; and $822 million to bring Mars rock and soil back to Earth.
The president’s budget also highlights the agency’s work on climate change mitigation and adaptation. It proposes $2.4 billion in Earth-observing satellites and nearly $500 million to decrease climate impacts of the aviation industry. NASA also plans to increase greenhouse gas monitoring systems and make that data more widely available.
Other investments include $1.4 billion for research and development headed by NASA for the private sector and for the agency’s work in studying and responding to orbital debris. The Department of Defense’s global Space Surveillance Network is currently tracking more than 27,000 pieces of debris, also referred to as space junk.
To contact the reporter on this story: Patty Nieberg in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org