current budget for NASA that will be used in fiscal 2012 is under some intense
debate by those close to the agency. NASA chief Charlie Bolden went to Capitol
Hill recently to defend
the budget that NASA wants for 2012 against those in Congress that
think the budget doesn't adhere closely enough to the outlines that were
approved last year.
The debate around the budget has to do with how much funds will be offered to
encourage the development of commercial spacecraft, and how much of the money
will be put towards building a new heavy lift rocket that could be used to send
astronauts into orbit and to the ISS. The heavy lift rocket was being viewed as a
potential backup to the commercial spacecraft and private craft like the SpaceX
capsule that became the first private spacecraft to hit orbit.
The NASA Authorization bill that was signed into law last year by Obama and set
aside money from NASA to fund privately-developed spacecraft that would
potentially take over after the final
space shuttle mission. The problem some have with the budget that is being
outlined for NASA is that it puts less money into the development of the
next-generation spacecraft for NASA and more money into funding private
budget for NASA for fiscal 2012 has the backing of Obama and will lock NASA at
2010 levels amounting to $18.7 billion.
"While last year's Authorization Act was by no means a perfect bill, it
did clearly articulate Congress' intention: that NASA pursue a means of
transportation that builds on all the work that’s been done over the past five
years," said the committee's ranking Democratic member, Eddie Bernice
Johnson (D-Texas). "I do not see it reflected in the proposed NASA budget
Committee chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) said, "The new budget proposal
disregards — yes, ignores — our authorization law."
"I get your message loud and clear and so does the president," Bolden
said. "I think the budget does, in fact reflect following your
guidance." Bolden does admit the funds were redistributed in the budget.
He continued saying, "Because these are tough fiscal times we also had to
make some difficult choices. Reductions are necessary in some areas so we can
invest in our future."