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House Passes FY2010 Budget Resolution Recommending $2.5 Billion Increase for NASA in 2011

House Passes FY2010 Budget Resolution Recommending $2.5 Billion Increase for NASA in 2011

The House of Representatives passed (233-193) the conference report (H. Rept. 111-89) on the FY2010 Budget Resolution (S. Con Res. 13) on April 29, adopting most of a Senate provision that recommends an additional $2.5 billion for NASA in FY2011 to pay for shuttle flights in case the current schedule for slips. The budget resolution sets budget targets for Congress to follow and the language does not have the force of law. It does represent the sense of Congress that 2010 should not be a hard date for terminating the shuttle.

The Senate-passed version stated that a fixed date of 2010 for retiring the shuttle might create “dangerous scheduling pressures” and that there was a possibility that shuttle flights might be needed in 2011, for which $2.5 billion in FY2011 therefore was provided. It also noted the expected 5-year gap between termination of the space shuttle and availability of the new Ares/Orion system and the consequent need to purchase crew launch services from Russia to take astronauts to and from the Internatonal Space Station (ISS), and that the Senate “recognizes the strategic importance of uninterrupted access to space and supports efforts to reduce or eliminate this five-year gap in U.S. human space flight.” The House had no similar provision. The conference agreement includes the additional $2.5 billion but is more specific that the additional funds are for the currently scheduled remaining eight shuttle flights to complete the ISS (not for additional flights). It includes similar language about the strategic importance of the space program.

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