Charlie Bolden, an official in NASA’s administration, announced plans for increasing their budget of about a half-billion dollars more, at the Kennedy Space station in Florida.
The step could provide NASA with the needed resources to advance the agency’s bipartisan space exploration targets. The 2016 budget will begin on October first.
The ongoing programs of the agency are meant to keep the United States in the lead in space exploration. On February second, Charlie Bolden presented a report to the Congress at the Kennedy’s Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building. He focused on the progress achieved by NASA’s Messenger spacecraft, which was successfully orbiting and gathered pictures and data about Mercury.
President Obama is pushing for a $18.5 billion budget for NASA, which is in course with the major investments in the space program over the past six years. NASA’s 2016 budget will further help with the agency’s proposed journey to Mars, one which Bolden says will happen.
This budget will also help with the Orion spacecraft, which was built in order to take humans further in space than ever before. Orion will serve as an exploration vehicle, being able to carry the crew to space, but also provide emergency abort capabilities and keep the crew safe during space travel and atmosphere re-entries.
The $18.5 billion NASA 2016 budget is $500 million larger than what the agency had last year. Experts believe that a budget raise would maintain NASA on the right path to Mars. It will also aid to fund a developing mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, a project NASA has long aimed at.
The increase in budget comes at cost. Even though a mission to Mars is definitely in the plans, Opportunity, the rover which is exploring Mars is starting to show its age. There has been some major problems with Opportunity’s flash memory drives and an increase in budget could mean the end of Opportunity.
Although Opportunity’s mission was planned to end this year, NASA managed to find additional founding and keep it working. With the new NASA budget, this project should get an allowance of less than $5.3 billion. Other funding will go to science missions, especially to the development of the James Webb Space Telescope. It scheduled for launch in 2018, being considered a perfect replacement for the 25-year old Hubble Space Telescope.
Image Source: Maxi Sciences