NASA’s new budget is unveiled

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JSC Director Michael Coats fielded questions from the audience.
On Feb. 6, NASA’s new 2007 Fiscal Year (FY) budget request was unveiled via a live satellite broadcast from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Mary Cleave, William Gerstenmaier, Scott Horowitz and Lisa Porter, associate administrators for science, space operations, exploration systems and aeronautics research, participated in the broadcast that would set the tone for future space endeavors.

JSC team members gathered in the Teague Auditorium to hear Griffin’s opening remarks and learn how JSC would be affected by the new budget changes.

The president’s budget request for the entire federal government for FY 2007 includes a $16.8 billion request for NASA. The budget includes a 3.2 percent increase over last year’s allotment, not including an emergency supplement for Hurricane Katrina response and recovery.

“This budget, with an increase over last year’s appropriation, demonstrates the president’s commitment to carrying out our Vision for Space Exploration,” Griffin said. “This is a modest investment to extend the frontiers of space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”

Despite a $3 to $5 billion shortfall between FY 2006 and FY 2010 that NASA must work through to carry out International Space Station assembly missions, Griffin said NASA remains committed to the completion of the space station with the least number of space shuttle flights.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was broadcast live in the Teague Auditorium.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was broadcast live in the Teague Auditorium.
The shuttle is slated for retirement in 2010, and Griffin said that this budget is sufficient to bring the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) online by at least 2014, if not earlier.

“NASA has asked industry [partners] for proposals to bring the CEV online as close to 2010 as possible, and no later than 2012,” he said.

To address the shortage of funding, Griffin said NASA will seek innovative ways to leverage the investments made by the commercial industry and through international partnerships.

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Reporters took notes while they watched the budget briefing.
Michael Coats, JSC director, said that the JSC team has taken steps toward addressing the gap between the retirement of the shuttle in 2010 and the launch of the CEV.

“Our challenge here is to come up with a transition plan to fly the shuttle and continue to develop the CEV,” Coats said. “We plan to multi-flex the people here to do both. We have a transition team working on a plan to submit to Congress in June.”

Coats said JSC possesses the unique expertise and experience necessary in order to manage successful space programs, and that JSC and NASA would do everything possible to close the gap between the space shuttle and CEV.

“JSC is and will remain the preeminent space exploration center in America and in the world,” Coats said.

Donna K. Lin
Johnson Space Center
(281) 483-9486

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Updated: 02/07/2006