Budget of NASA

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed July 29, 1958; 55 years ago (1958-07-29)
Annual budget $18.724 billion (Fiscal Year 2011, about 0.5% of total budget at about $3 trillion)[1]

As a federal agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) receives its funding from the annual federal budget passed by the United States Congress. The following charts detail the amount of federal funding allotted to NASA each year over its past fifty-year history (1958–2009) to operate aeronautics research, unmanned and manned space exploration programs.

NASA employment[edit]

Reference:

Cost of Apollo program[edit]

NASA's budget peaked in 1966, during the Apollo program

NASA's budget peaked in the period 1964-1966, during the height of construction efforts leading up to the first moon landing under Apollo program which involved more than 34,000 NASA employees and 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors. Roughly 4% of the total federal budget was being devoted to the space program.

In March 1966, NASA officials briefing Congressional members stated the "run-out cost" of the Apollo program, aimed at achieving a manned lunar landing, would be an estimated $22.718 billion for the 13-year program, which had begun in 1959. According to Steve Garber, the NASA History website curator, the final cost of project Apollo was between $20 and $25.4 billion in 1969 dollars (approximately $136 billion in 2007 dollars).[7] The costs associated with the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rockets amounted to about $83 billion in 2005 dollars (Apollo spacecraft cost $28 billion (Command/Service Module $17 billion; Lunar Module $11 billion), Saturn I, Saturn IB, Saturn V costs about $46 billion in 2005 dollars).

Economic impact of NASA funding[edit]

A November 1971 study of NASA released by the Midwest Research Institute of Kansas City, Missouri ("Technological Progress and Commercialization of Communications Satellites." In: "Economic Impact of Stimulated Technological Activity") concluded that "the $25 billion in 1958 dollars spent on civilian space R & D during the 1958-1969 period has returned $52 billion through 1971 -- and will continue to produce pay offs through 1987, at which time the total pay off will have been $181 billion. The discounted rate of return for this investment will have been 33 percent."

A map from NASA's web site illustrating its economic impact on the U.S. states (as of FY2003)

A 1992 article in the British science journal Nature reported:[8]

"The economic benefits of NASA's programs are greater than generally realized. The main beneficiaries (the American public) may not even realize the source of their good fortune. . ."

Other statistics on NASA's economic impact may be found in the 1976 Chase Econometrics Associates, Inc. reports ("The Economic Impact of NASA R&D Spending: Preliminary Executive Summary.", April 1975. Also: "Relative Impact of NASA Expenditure on the Economy.", March 18, 1975) and backed by the 1989 Chapman Research report, which examined 259 non-space applications of NASA technology during an eight-year period (1976–1984) and found more than:

— $21.6 billion in sales and benefits;

— 352,000 (mostly skilled) jobs created or saved,and;

— $355 million in federal corporate income taxes

According to the "Nature" article, these 259 applications represent ". . .only 1% of an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Space program spin-offs."

In 2002, the aerospace industry accounted for $95 billion of economic activity in the United States, including $23.5 billion in employee earnings dispersed among some 576,000 employees (source: Federal Aviation Administration, March 2004).

Public perception[edit]

According to the United States Constitution, the funding of all federal public works, including those of NASA, is determined by the Congress, and thus is subject to the will of the people, who elect the Congress. As Abraham Lincoln observed, "With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed." As such, NASA depends on the good will of the American public.[9] The Apollo program (1961–72), motivated by a perceived national security threat posed by early Soviet leads in spaceflight, generated the highest budget levels that NASA has ever seen, both in real inflation-adjusted dollars and in percentage of total federal budget, sharply peaking at 4.41% in 1966 and then descending. After the US won the Space Race by achieving the goal of landing men on the Moon, the perceived threat was gone, and NASA was unable to sustain political support for its vision of an even more ambitious Space Transportation System entailing reusable Earth-to-orbit shuttles, a permanent space station, lunar bases, and a manned mission to Mars. Only a scaled-back Space Shuttle was approved, and NASA's funding leveled off at just under 1% in 1976, then shallowly declined to 0.75% in 1986. Despite a brief rally to 1.01% in 1992, it then repeated the steady decline to approximately 0.5% in 2012, the last year for which data is available.

The American public perceives the NASA budget as commanding a much larger share of the federal budget than it in fact does. A 1997 poll reported that Americans had an average estimate of 20% for NASA's share of the federal budget, far higher than the actual 0.5% to under 1% that has been maintained throughout the late '90s and first decade of the 2000s.[10] It is estimated that most Americans spent less than $9 on NASA through personal income tax in 2009.[11]

However, there has been a recent movement to communicate discrepancy between perception and reality of NASA's budget as well as lobbying to return the funding back to the 1970-1990 level. The United States Senate Science Committee met in March 2012 where astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson testified that "Right now, NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow."[12][13] Inspired by Tyson's advocacy and remarks, the Penny4NASA campaign was initiated in 2012 by John Zeller and advocates the doubling of NASA's budget to one percent of the Federal Budget, or one "penny on the dollar."[14]

Related legislation[edit]

  • 1961— Apollo mission funding PL 87-98 A
  • 1970— National Aeronautics and Space Administration Research and Development Act, PL 91-119
  • 1984— National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, PL 98-361
  • 1988— National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, PL 100-685
  • 2005— National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005, PL 109-155[15]
  • 2010— National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bill Summary of NASA Authorization Act of 2010
  2. ^ NASA Historical Databook, 1958-1968, Volume I, NASA Resources, NASA SP-4012v1, 1976, Page 10, http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4012v1.pdf
  3. ^ For general discussion on Years 1960-1968, see Chapter 3 of NASA Historical Databook, 1958-1968, Volume I, NASA Resources, NASA SP-4012v1, 1976
  4. ^ SP-4012 NASA HISTORICAL DATA BOOK: VOLUME IV, NASA RESOURCES 1969-1978, Table 3-1 (Titled: Civilian and Military In-house Personnel (at end of fiscal year)), Link: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4012/vol4/t3.1.htm
  5. ^ NASA Historical Data Books (SP-4012), Volume VI: NASA Space Applications, Aeronautics and Space Research and Technology, Tracking and Data Acquisition/Support Operations, Commercial Programs, and Resources, 1979-1988, Compiled by Judy A. Rumerman, 1999, Reference: Chapter 7: NASA Personnel, Table 7-1 (Titled: Total NASA Workforce (at end of fiscal year), Page 468 Link: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4012/vol6/cover6.html
  6. ^ http://employeeorientation.nasa.gov/contractors/default.htm
  7. ^ http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Steve-Garber/28266667
  8. ^ Roger H. Bezdek & Robert M. Wendling (January 9, 1992). "Sharing out NASA's spoils". Nature (Nature Publishing Group) 355 (6356): 105–106. Bibcode:1992Natur.355..105B. doi:10.1038/355105a0. Retrieved 2008-03-30. "The economic benefits of NASA's programmes are greater than generally recognized. The main beneficiaries may not even realize the source of their good fortune." 
  9. ^ "Public Opinion of the American Space Program". NASA Headquarters. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  10. ^ Launius, Roger D. "Public opinion polls and perceptions of US human spaceflight". Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. 
  11. ^ "Personal Income Tax Paid To NASA In 2009 By Income Level". NASACost.com. 
  12. ^ "Past, Present, and Future of NASA - U.S. Senate Testimony". Hayden Planetarium. 7 Mar 2012. Retrieved 4 Dec 2012. 
  13. ^ "Past, Present, and Future of NASA - U.S. Senate Testimony (Video)". Hayden Planetarium. 7 Mar 2012. Retrieved 4 Dec 2012. 
  14. ^ "Why We Fight - Penny4NASA". Penny4NASA. Retrieved 30 Nov 2012. 
  15. ^ National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005, PL 109-155, US Government, December 30, 2005.

External links[edit]