Bush Seeks 1-Percent Increase for NASA in 2007 Budget Request

WASHINGTON --The White House is seeking a roughly 1-percent increase for NASA for 2007.

PresidentGeorge W. Bush's 2007 request, which is due to be sent to Congress and releasedto the public Feb. 6, includes $16.792 billion for NASA.

Congresslast year approved $16.6 billion for NASA for 2006, a sum that included $350million in hurricane-recovery money and also a 1.28-percent rescission. Notcounting that money, which NASA needs to repair its Gulf Coast facilities damagedlast year by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the White House request wouldrepresent a 3-percent increase over the 2006 level.

Within theNASA request, roughly $6.2 billion would go to the international space stationand space shuttle programs, about $3.9 billion would go toward the developmentof new human and unmanned spacecraft needed to replace the shuttle and sendastronauts to the Moon, about $5.3 billion would go to space and Earth sciencemissions, and about $720 million would go to aeronautics research.

NASA hasyet to release its 2006 operating plan, so it is not yet publicly known howmuch the agency intends to spend on each of its majors programs. Based on lastyear's request, however, NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, whichis developing the hardware NASA needs for its return to the Moon, appears to bein line for the biggest increase. The $3.9 billion NASA is requesting for thoseefforts for 2007 is roughly $700 million more than it planned to spend thisyear.

The SpaceOperations Mission Directorate's budget, which pays for the space shuttle andspace station programs, would decline slightly under the 2007 plan, whileNASA's Science Mission Directorate would see only a modest 1-percent increase.

Aeronauticsspending would be held essentially flat.

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