Poor old NASA and its budget woes took various turns for the worse and slightly less worse durIng this week.
It saw the US Senate pass its appropriations bill for the agency and even better (?)the US House of Representatives voted through two celebratory resolutions regarding 50 years of space and NASA’s Langley Research Center.
But the week has also seen an attempt to rob NASA of $150 million, not much compared to the agency’s $17+ billion budget request but its one more funding threat the embattled agency’s leadership doesn’t need to worry about.
Fortunately that was stopped. But it still doesn’t resolve the fact that the space agency is in a continuing resolution.
To those of you who aren’t Americans familiar with their government’s budgetary process (or if you’re an American who isn’t familiar with this process) a continuing resolution comes into force when no budget for the new fiscal year has been approved. And the US government’s fiscal years are 1 October to 30 September.
As NASA had no approved budget for 2007 the agency is working with funding at 2006 budget levels – the last budget to be appropriated.
So to cut a long story short NASA is waiting for the House and Senate to get their act together and appropriate the funds, assuming US president George Bush doesn’t veto the bill that contains the NASA budget. And he has threatened too.