Al Fansome has some numbers to show where the Obama administration puts space in terms of federal R&D priority (scroll down to the eleventh comment):
I reviewed the stimulus package for the science & tech agencies. I have listed them by order of amount received in the stimulus bill.
DOE receives $43.9 Billion (for energy related projects.)
NIH receives $4.6 Billion.
National Telecommunications & Information Administration receives $3.8 Billion.
NSF receives $2.5 Billion.
NOAA receives $1 Billion.
NASA receives $600 million.
NIST receives $500 million.
Now you may think “well at least NASA got more than somebody.”
But wait, the President’s budget request for NIST for FY2009 was $678 million.
The NIST stimulus package of $500M is 74% of its FY2009 budget request.
PS — This is completely depressing.
I’m certainly not surprised. I keep telling people that civil space isn’t important. This is just more proof of that.
[Update early evening]
“anonymous.space” has a useful follow-up thought:
I’d also point out that given the mess that Constellation, and NASA’s human space flight plans in general, are in, it may be some number of months until the new White House figures out where it wants to place its bets in space exploration and technology, anyway. Until they figure out a (hopefully good) path forward, I’d rather see them keep their powder dry. Sure beats blowing $4 billion trying vainly to bring the Ares I/Orion schedule one lousy year to the left as Griffin has suggested, or $15 billion (probably more) tying the Shuttle albatross around NASA’s neck for another five years.
We have to be realistic — a leap to COTS D or Orion on an EELV to shorten the gap, or a restructuring of the lunar architecture to something more sustainable, or some other innovative shift in direction for the human space flight program was not in the cards for this bill or timeframe. The new President has yet to be sworn in, Griffin just left office today, and his successor has yet to be named. I wouldn’t begin furrowing brows and wringing hands until the new Administration has at least submitted its 2010 budget to Congress in the April/June timeframe. At that time, if there’s no shift towards or study of alternatives (i.e., Ares I/Orion forever), or if space exploration, technology and/or science is getting whacked budgetarily, then there will be reason to worry.
I agree, it’s far too early to know what this administration wants to do with space policy (and there’s a lot more to that than simply choosing a replacement for Mike Griffin).