NASA's work on the US air transport industry's NextGen air traffic control system could see its annual budget more than doubled if President Barack Obama's fiscal stimulus bill is passed.
Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill 2009 includes a provision to give NASA $600 million, with $400 million for climate science, $50 million for weather damage related NASA centre repairs and the remaining $150 million for NextGen.
NASA is being funded under its fiscal year 2009 budget. The US government's financial year is October to October. The 2009 budget was to spend $74.6 million on NextGen. NASA declines to comment on the extra $150 million until the recovery bill becomes law.
The space agency co-operates with the US Federal Aviation Administration on NextGen's development, with publication date for the FAA's new implementation plan set for 30 January.
Obama is yet to appoint the NASA administrator for his administration. Former NASA chief engineer Michael Griffin was appointed to the post by President Bush and departed on 20 January when the new Obama administration took effect. Former NASA chief engineer Christopher Scolese, who worked as Griffin's associate administrator, is now the agency's acting administrator.