One month after its own April deadline, NASA still does not know when it will have its operating plan for 2007 agreed with the US Congress.

The plan represents NASA's spending for its 2007 fiscal year, which runs from October 2006 to the end of September. "We can't identify the [outstanding] issues while they are under discussion," says NASA. The plan was required because of February's Congress-imposed continuing resolution FY07 $16 billion budget.

On 15 March NASA submitted its plan to the US Senate subcommittee on justice, science and related agencies. Congress had 15 days to respond and NASA planned to publicise an agreed plan by 1 April.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin and his deputy Shana Dale are now to have further meetings with Congress. The agency's FY08 budget is also still under discussion with Congress. If it is not agreed by the end of September the agency faces another fiscal year without an approved budget.

The 2007 continuing resolution has delayed, by six months, NASA's new manned Orion crew exploration vehicle deployment to March 2015. Another resolution for FY08 could delay Orion further.

Source: Flight International