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Economic Stimulus Package Contains $1 Billion for NASA

WASHINGTON -NASA stands to receive $1 billion of a $789 billion economic stimulus packagenegotiated by House and Senate conferees and headed for a vote in both chambersas soon as today, congressional sources said.

Theconferees reached a deal Wednesday that reconciles the differences between the Houseand Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thecompromise roughly split the difference between the Senate's proposed $1.3billion for NASA and the $600 million included in the House version of thebill.

Thecompromise spending plan includes $400 million tonarrow the gap between the planned 2010 retirement of the space shuttle andthefirst flight of its successor. The Senate measure had called for $450million; the House version included no money for narrowing the gap.  

NASA alsowould receive the House request of $400 million for Earth science and climatemonitoring projects and $150 million for aeronautics under the compromise.The Senate had proposed spending $50 million more in each area.

The Senatebill had included $250 million to repair NASA facilities damaged by HurricaneIke last summer, but the measure now headed for vote includes the Houserequest for $50 million.

NASA'sInspector General's Office would receive $2 million, a figure that has remainedunchanged from the House and Senate versions of the stimulus package.

NASA's 2008budget was $17.3 billion. The agency has estimated it would cost an extra $5billion to extend the space shuttle fleet?s service beyond 2010 to about 2012.

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