NASA Gets Big Increase in FY2015 Omnibus, NOAA Satellites Do OK

NASA Gets Big Increase in FY2015 Omnibus, NOAA Satellites Do OK

House and Senate appropriators introduced the long-awaited compromise version of the FY2015 appropriations bill late today.  If approved as expected, NASA will get a significant increase compared to the President’s request, and NOAA satellite programs will fare well overall, with GOES-R and JPSS fully funded.

As expected, the bill combines 11 of the 12 regular appropriations bills, funding all of those departments and agencies for the rest of FY2015 (through September 30, 2015).  The 12th bill, for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is funded only temporarily, through February 27, 2015, as a protest against President Obama’s executive order on immigration.   This combination of a Continuing Resolution (CR) for DHS and an omnibus for the rest of the government is sometimes referred to as a “cromnibus.”  It is designated as “Senate amendment to H.R. 83.”   NASA and NOAA are part of Division B, the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) portion.

The total for NASA in the compromise accord is $18.010 billion, a $549 million increase over the request of $17.461 billion.  Despite the significant increase, some programs were cut, including:. 

  • Space Technology, which gets $596 million instead of $706 million.
  • commercial crew, which will receive $805 million instead of $848 million.  Senate language that would have required adherence to certain regulations regarding cost and pricing data is not included, but the compromise requires technical and financial quarterly reports to Congress for each awardee.
  • Space Operations (including the International Space Station), which gets $3.828 billion instead of $3.905 billion

 But many others get increases.  Among the big winners are —

  • planetary science, receiving $1.438 billion instead of $1.280 billion, including not less than $100 million for a Europa mission
  • astrophysics, $684 million instead of $607 million, including $70 million for SOFIA
  • aeronautics, $651 million instead of $551 million
  • Orion, $1.194 billion instead of $1.053 billion
  • SLS, $1.700 billion instead of $1.380 billion

More information is in our fact sheet on NASA’s FY2015 budget request.

NOAA’s satellite programs also fare well.  The two premier programs — GOES-R and JPSS — are fully funded.   The Senate had proposed transferring two other programs, DSCOVR and Jason-3, to NASA, but that was not adopted and both programs are funded in NOAA’s budget at or close to their requested levels.  COSMIC-2 received its full request of $6.8 million.

The House-passed CJS bill and the version approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee both zeroed NOAA’s $15 million request for the Solar Irradiance, Data and Rescue (SIDAR) program that pulls together plans for launching three instruments — Total Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS), Advanced Data Collection System (A-DCS), and Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT).  SIDAR fared better in the compromise omnibus bill, getting half its requested funding, $7.3 million.  Report language accompanying the bill says it is to support hosting TSIS-1 on the International Space Station (ISS) and maintaining international partnerships on A-DCS and SARSAT.  It notes that hosting TSIS-1 on ISS was not part of the President’s FY2015 budget request and asks for a report on those plans.

More information is in our fact sheet on NOAA’s FY2015 budget request.

NASA, NOAA and most of the rest of the government are currently funded by a CR that expires at midnight on Thursday, December 11.   Because negotiations on this compromise bill took longer than planned, and ordinarily there is a three-day waiting period in the House for members to read a bill and other procedural steps in the Senate, Congress may not complete action on it before that deadline.   A very short-term CR may be passed to cover a couple of days while Congress completes work on this bill.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.