[REVIEW] : NASA’s huge new budget proposed by the White House

The lengthy fiscal year 2023 budget process has begun in the United States. As a reminder, the American fiscal year covers a period extending from October 1 of year N-1 to September 30 of year N. After the query of the Nasa which detailed its needs, the White House submitted to Congress its budget for the year 2023. This budget is only a proposal. It is now up to the Senate and the House to find a consensus on a budget text (in theory before September 30), which will then be submitted for final approval by the Executive.

Return to the Moon in 2025

Unsurprisingly, the budget plans to strengthen the dominant position of the United States in many areas, including, not surprisingly, the manned flights and exploring. In the race with China to settle permanently on the Moon, NASA wants to get a head start with its Artemis program. The Biden administration plans to spend $7.6 billion on exploration, which it believes is enough to get Americans back on the Moon as early as 2025. An optimism we don’t share – $1.5 billion are planned for lunar landers of Artemis.

While one might have thought that the duration life of the International Space Station is reduced due to the unprecedented crisis Western-Japanese-Russian space relations are going through, the Biden administration still plans to use it through 2030. $224 million is planned to help the American private sector kick-start the development and service of commercial space stations in order to begin a transition with the ISS and not leave the United States without a “home” in orbit low. Still in low orbit, the economic development of low orbits is taken very seriously by the United States, which plans to devote some $1.6 billion there to help research and development of technologies that could be used for a whole bunch new activities, some of which do not yet exist. The future prospects of this LEO hub promise commercial opportunities and a large range of new activities. They take on the appearance of a new space race – this time commercial, and even faster than that of the 1960s – and which Europe and the European Space Agency seem to have already lost.

Starship has been contracted for another manned flight as part of the Artemis program

NASA has contracted SpaceX to perform another manned Starship orbiter flight to the moon as part of the Artemis program, according to a post from Elon Musk’s company on Twitter. The company also confirmed that the action is based on a contractual clause that allows the US space agency to conduct this type of negotiation.

More detailed information about the new contract has yet to be released, so not much is known about the nature of the flight, or even when. We only know that this is a demonstrative manned mission – in the sense that the Starship will take a crew of astronauts to and from the Moon. NASA has already planned such a mission as part of the program.

Between these two trips, it’s unclear if there’s a practical difference between them, but one detail stands out: an official timeline posted on NASA’s website showed the agency’s plans for the next 10 years on missions. to the Moon and Mars, but as far as Artemis is concerned, he only mentions two flight demonstrations with the Starship – a manned mission and an unmanned mission. That is, he’s not considering the new contract, even though that timeline appears after SpaceX’s announcement.

Beyond that, NASA appears to be predicting a three-year gap between the first and second manned flights – one in 2025 and the other likely to occur in 2028. Throughout the Apollo program, for example, all of the manned missions to the Moon – including even an aborted circumlunar trip – took place in less than four years. This space of three years for only two manned voyages is still unexplained.

In any case, all the oddities could be the effect of a lack of communication coordination between NASA and SpaceX, since the second manned flight of the Starship has not been denied by anyone. Either the agency and/or the company are calculating a possible early mission — a plausible problem, given NASA’s delays in developing the Space Launch System (SLS), the mega rocket that will launch the Artemis program at the mid-2024.

And it’s not as if SpaceX hasn’t already been in trouble: despite having already secured some contracts, the Elon Musk company’s orbiter still hasn’t completed its full test flight. This is largely attributable to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has already passed the environmental certification inspection of Starbase, the base where Starship is installed, at least three times. Without this authorization, the ship does not leave the ground.

White House calls for $26 billion space budget

year 2023 donation It will provide $ 7.5 billion to direct American human spaceflight under the agency’s Artemis program. This figure represents an increase of $1.1 billion.

It is also investing $2.4 billion in Earth Watch Satellites and climate research.

The budget will support the development of commercial space stations, allocating $224 million for use in future space stations as well as for the operation of the International Space Station (ISS).

Biden administration calls for $26 billion for NASA in 2023

After lengthy discussions with NASA administrators, the White House has finally decided on the budget to be claimed to Congress for fiscal year 2023. The Biden administration is asking for $26 billion, that’s $2 billion more than in 2022.

$7.5 billion for NASA’s Artemis program

With this budget, Joe Biden and his teams want to allow the American space agency to achieve its objectives. Of the $26 billion claimed, 7.5 billion will be devoted to the Artemis program which aims to put humans on the moon again. This huge budget should also make it possible to finance the second lander requested by NASA a few days ago. Along with the development of SpaceX’s Starship, NASA is returning to its initial wish to ensure some competition between two entities.

For NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the budget request from the White House is “a signal of support for our missions and a new era of exploration and discovery. That’s excellent news “. Indeed, Joe Biden shows that he wants to give back all its greatness to the conquest of space and allow the US space agency to regain control of the subject. Current tensions with Russia may have weighed in the balance. Kind of like the 1960s.

Joe Bien puts the conquest of space back in the spotlight

The NASA administrator adds that this is “an investment in the businesses, corporations and universities that work in partnership with NASA in all 50 states of the country”. As part of the Artemis program, NASA wants to land astronauts on the Moon no earlier than 2025. After this first mission which will put humans on the Moon, the American space agency intends to ensure a regular link to the Moon, and to carry out a series of even more ambitious and longer expeditions.

In particular, NASA plans to assemble and operate a space station near the so-called moon. This is already under study and should be called Gateway. On this subject, Bill Nelson specifies that “soon, we will return to the Moon with the Artemis program. We will learn to live and work in a hostile environment, and then we will go to Mars in the late 2030s. President Biden’s proposed $26 billion budget for NASA will allow us to start making this happen.” From now on, this budget is in the hands of members of Congress.