NASA’s draft budget for 2024 is published

The White House has published a NASA draft budget for 2024. It provides for the allocation of a total of USD 27.2 billion for the needs of the department — 7% more than this year (25.4 billion). The document, in particular, assumes an increase in funding for the Artemis program and the creation of a special tug designed to lift the ISS from orbit.

Source: iStock; NASA; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

It is worth noting that at the moment only the basic version of the document has been published. A detailed budget with only high-level details will be presented on March 13. But the existing version also allows us to draw a number of general conclusions. 

Almost a third of the proposed amount (USD 8.1 billion) will be allocated to the manned program. This is half a billion more than in 2023. The authors of the document claim that the amount presented should be fully sufficient for all the needs of the Artemis program and the implementation of the Artemis II mission, which is scheduled to launch at the end of 2024. 

The draft budget also includes the allocation of USD 949 million to finance the joint US-European Mars Sample Return mission. Within its framework, samples of lunar soil collected by the Perseverance rover will be delivered to Earth.

USD 2.5 billion will be allocated for various Earth exploration projects. 500 million will be spent on an initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions produced by American aviation to zero by 2050. It is also planned to finance various research and educational projects, and to continue attracting the commercial sector to space exploration.

Another interesting expense item is the tug, which will have to take the ISS out of orbit after a decision is made to end its operation. The authors of the document propose to allocate USD 180 million to start work on its development.

In conclusion, it is worth recalling that so far we are talking only about the draft budget. This document sets the general direction, but the American Congress is responsible for the actual allocation of money in the United States. Therefore, the total amount that NASA will receive will differ from the request. In 2023, the American aerospace administration, for example, received less money than the White House requested.

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