FY 2013 Request for National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NOTE this correction made to FYI #24: FY 2013 Request for Defense Science and Technology Programs

Total Defense-Wide (i.e., DARPA) 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3:
FY 2012 funding is $5,171.2 million
The FY 2013 request is $5,450.0 million, an increase of $278.8 million or 5.4 percent

In describing NASA’s FY 2013 request of $17.7 billion, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said “Despite a constrained fiscal environment, this budget continues to aggressively implement the space exploration program agreed to by the President and a bipartisan majority in Congress . . . laying the foundation for remarkable discoveries here on Earth and in deep space.”  Alluding to congressional criticism of the Obama Administration’s decision to cancel the Constellation Program, Bolden added, “The time for debate about our future is over. We have a solid plan, a sustainable plan, and we’re moving out to implement it . . . opening the next great chapter of American exploration.”

Later in his remarks, Bolden discussed space science, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the Administration’s decision to not to move forward with 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions:

“This year we will land Curiosity, the largest rover ever, on Mars and continue to develop and conduct critical tests on the James Webb Space Telescope leading to its planned launch in 2018. As the successor to Hubble Space Telescope, the Webb telescope will again revolutionize our understanding of the universe.

“This budget supports more than 80 science missions – 56 currently in operation and 28 now under development - that cover the vital data we need to understand our own planet; diverse missions reaching farther into our solar system; and the next generation of observatories peering beyond the reaches of our neighborhood to other galaxies and their solar systems and undiscovered phenomena.

“However, tough choices had to be made.

“This means we will not be moving forward with the planned 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions that we had been exploring with the European Space Agency. Instead, we will develop an integrated strategy to ensure that the next steps for Mars exploration will support science as well as human exploration goals, and potentially take advantage of the 2018-2020 exploration window.  The budget provides support for this new approach, and this process will be informed by extensive coordination with the science community and our international partners.

“This Administration remains committed to a vibrant and coordinated strategy of Mars exploration and continuing America’s leadership role in the exploration of the Red Planet within the available budget.  Our goals include not only new path-breaking robotic missions to Mars, but also future human missions, as outlined by the President.

“I have tasked the head of the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. John Grunsfeld; the head of Human Exploration, Bill Gerstenmaier; our Chief Technologist, Dr. Mason Peck; and our Chief Scientist, Dr. Waleed Abdalatti, with crafting an integrated Mars strategy – one that will ensure that the next steps for the Robotic Mars Exploration Program will support science as well as long-term human exploration goals.

“The missions currently at Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory on its way, and MAVEN well into development, will provide many years of data to help us understand the Red Planet and our needs in future years to meet the President's challenge to send humans to Mars in the mid-2030s.”

Detailed information on NASA’s FY 2013 request is provided in its 775-page budget submission to Congress.  Below are figures for the agency’s major programs:

Total NASA:

Down $58.6 million or 3.3 percent from $17,770.0 million to $17,711.4 million


Down $162.5 million or 3.2 percent from $5,073.7 million to $4,911.2 million

Within this budget are the following programs:

  • Earth Science: Up $24.3 million or 1.4 percent from $1,760.5 to $1,784.8 million
  • Planetary Science: Down $309.1 million or 20.6 percent from $1,501.4 million to $1,192.3 million
  • Astrophysics: Down $13.3 million or 2.0 percent from $672.7 million to $659.4 million
  • James Webb Space Telescope: Up $109.0 million or 21.0 percent from $518.6 million to $627.6 million
  • Heliophysics: Up $26.5 million or 4.3 percent from $620.5 million to $647.0 million


Down $17.9 million or 3.1 percent from $569.4 million to $551.5 million

Space Technology:

Up $125.3 million or 21.8 percent from $573.7 million to $699.0 million


Up $220.0 million or 5.9 percent from $3,712.8 million to $3,932.8 million

Space Operations:

Down $173.8 million or 4.2 percent from $4,187.0 million to $4,013.2 million


Down $36.1 million or 26.5 percent from $136.1 million to $100.0 million

Cross-Agency Support:

Down $146.4 million or 4.9 percent from $2,993.9 million to $2,847.5 million

Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration:

Up $132.2 million or 27.2 percent from $487.0 million to $619.2 million

Office of Inspector General:

Down $1.3 million or 3.4 percent from $38.3 million to $37.0 million

Of note, page 164 of the budget document outlines the agency’s plans regarding restarting Pu-238 production.

Originally published in FYI, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News.