NASA Transition Authorization Act Allocates $19.508 Billion for 2017

S. 442: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017

The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations.

This is an authorization bill, which direct how federal funds should or should not be used. Appropriations set overall spending limits by agency or program and are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year).*

 

The bill authorizes funding only for FY2017, which is already underway.  The total is $19.508 billion, the same as the amount recommended by the House Appropriations Committee, although allocated differently.  Authorization bills recommend funding levels, but only appropriations bills actually provide funding to government agencies like NASA. Congress has not completed action on the FY2017 appropriations bills.  NASA is currently funded under a Continuing Resolution at its FY2016 funding level, with an exception that funds may be spent on the Space Launch System, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems programs to keep their schedules on track.

S 442 authorizes specified National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) programs for FY2017.

The bill modifies and states policy governing certain NASA space and exploration programs, including:

-the International Space Station, specifically, the bill clarifies that the primary consideration for the acquisition strategy for the commercial crew program is to carry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) “safely, reliably, and affordably” and to serve as a crew rescue vehicle.

-and low-Earth orbit, Mars exploration, deep space exploration,

-and the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission, specifically that NASA has not demonstrated to Congress that the cost of the Asteroid Redirect Mission is commensurate with its benefits, a stronger statement than what was in the 2016 bill. The new bill also has a section on use of Space Act Agreements..

To Research, Evaluate, Assess, and Treat Astronauts Act or the TREAT Astronauts Act

NASA may provide for:

medical monitoring and diagnosis of former U.S. astronauts and former payload specialists for conditions potentially associated with human space flight, and
the treatment of those astronauts and payload specialists for conditions associated with human space flight, including scientific and medical tests for psychological and medical conditions. NASA shall conduct a space technology program for the research and development of advanced space technologies.

The bill requires the development of a strategic plan to guide NASA information technology operations and an information security plan for cybersecurity.

NASA must also report to Congress on how the Orion spacecraft can fulfill the provision in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act that it be able to serve as a backup to commercial crew, including with use of a launch vehicle other than the Space Launch System.

 

NASA’S FY2017 BUDGET REQUEST

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget requested funds to carry out an ambitious deep space exploration program and continue the Nation’s Journey to Mars. NASA’s budget advances the Nation’s space exploration plan and ensures our nation remains the world’s leader in space exploration and technology, aeronautics research and discovery in space and Earth science.

The budget supports developing the technologies that will make future space missions more capable and affordable, partnering with the private sector to transport crew and cargo to the International Space Station, continuing the development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System and Exploration Ground Systems that will one day send astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.

The budget also keeps the Webb Telescope on track for a 2018; builds on our scientific discoveries and achievements in space; and supports the Administration’s commitment to serve as a catalyst for the growth of a vibrant American commercial space industry.

NASA’S 2017 BUDGET REQUEST IS CENTRAL TO US GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVE

NASA’s programs in Earth science are central to three important Obama Presidential initiatives: the Climate Change Research Initiative, Global Earth Observation, and the Oceans Action Plan. NASA’s budget request for 2017 is intrinsically linked to the $2.68-billion Global Change Research Program budget for 2017 ($1.54 billion of NASA’s Earth science research is including, constituting 58 percent of that total).

S.2837: 2017 FUNDING FOR NASA, NSF, NOAA AND RELATED SCIENCE AGENCIES.

The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations.

This is an appropriations bill, which sets overall spending limits by agency or program. (Authorizations direct how federal funds should or should not be used.) Appropriations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year).*

The S.2837: FISCAL YEAR 2017 COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE APPROPRIATIONS BILL increases funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation*, while funding the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the FY2016 level.

 

 

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