NASA Appropriations and Authorizations: A Fact Sheet

Congressional deliberations about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) often focus on the availability of funding. This fact sheet provides data on past and current NASA appropriations, as well as the President’s budget request for FY2021. It will be updated as warranted to reflect congressional action on FY2021 appropriations and authorizations of appropriations.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA budget NASA appropriations NASA authorization NASA reauthorization NASA funding NASA congressional budget justification NASA budget request NASA operating plan NASA Commerce-Justice-Science NASA CJS

2019 FY2019 NASA appropriations P.L. 116-6

2020 FY2020 NASA appropriations H.R. 3055 H.R. 1158 P.L. 116-93 H.R. 748

2020 FY2020 NASA authorization H.R. 5666 S. 2800

NASA Appropriations and Authorizations: A Fact Sheet

Updated March 27, 2020 (R43419)

Overview

Congressional deliberations about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) often focus on the availability of funding. This fact sheet provides data on past and current NASA appropriations, as well as the President's budget request for FY2021. It will be updated as warranted to reflect congressional action on FY2021 appropriations and authorizations of appropriations.

Table 1 shows appropriations for NASA from FY2015 through FY2020. The data for FY2015 through FY2019 include supplemental appropriations, rescissions, transfers, and reprogramming. They are taken from NASA's congressional budget justifications for FY2017 through FY2021.1 Congressional budget justifications are available on the NASA budget website (http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/) for the current year and for past years back to FY2002. The data for FY2020 are as enacted by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-93). For amounts not specified in that act, see the explanatory statement in the Congressional Record, December 17, 2019.

Table 2 shows FY2019 appropriations as enacted; the Administration's original request for FY2020 and its additional request in the May 2019 budget amendment; FY2020 appropriations proposed in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020 (Division A of H.R. 3055 as passed by the House in June 2019 and as passed by the Senate in October 2019); FY2020 appropriations enacted in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-93); and authorizations of FY2020 appropriations proposed in the NASA Authorization Act of 2020 (H.R. 5666) and the NASA Authorization Act of 2019 (S. 2800).

Table 3 shows FY2020 appropriations as enacted and the Administration's request for FY2021. Additional information will be added when available. Authorizations for FY2021 are not included in H.R. 5666 or S. 2800.

Note that the Administration's budget requests since FY2019 have proposed new names for some NASA accounts. In the enacted FY2019 appropriation, Education became Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement. The Administration has also proposed renaming Space Technology as Exploration Technology; Exploration as Deep Space Exploration Systems; and Space Operations as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Spaceflight Operations. The Administration's proposals would also transfer certain activities from Exploration to Space Technology, so the amounts shown for those items in Table 2 and Table 3 may represent somewhat different content in different columns.

Figure 1 shows NASA's total annual budget authority from the agency's establishment in FY1958 to FY2020, in both current dollars and inflation-adjusted FY2020 dollars.

For additional information on selected NASA programs, see also CRS In Focus IF10940, The James Webb Space Telescope; CRS In Focus IF10828, The International Space Station (ISS) and the Administration's Proposal to End Direct NASA Funding by 2025; and the discussion of NASA's use of commercial space capabilities in CRS Report R45416, Commercial Space: Federal Regulation, Oversight, and Utilization.

Table 1. NASA Appropriations, FY2015-FY2020

(budget authority in $ millions)

 

FY2015

FY2016

FY2017

FY2018

FY2019

FY2020

Science

$5,243

$5,584

$5,762

$6,212

$6,887

$7,139a

Earth Science

1,784

1,927

1,908

1,921

1,931

1,972

Planetary Science

1,447

1,628

1,828

2,218

2,747

2,713

Astrophysics

731

762

783

850

1,191

1,306

James Webb Space Telescope

645

620

569

534

305

423

Heliophysics

636

647

675

689

713

725

Aeronautics

642

634

656

685

725

784

Space Technology

600

686

687

760

927

1,100

Exploration

3,543

3,996

4,324

4,790

5,045

6,018

Exploration Systems Development

3,212

3,641

3,929

4,395

4,087

4,583

Orion

1,190

1,270

1,330

1,350

1,350

1,407

Space Launch System

1,679

1,972

2,127

2,150

2,144

2,586

Exploration Ground Systems

343

399

472

895

593

590

Exploration R&D

331

355

395

395

958

1,435

Space Operations

4,626

5,032

4,943

4,749

4,640

4,140

Space Shuttle

8

5

0

0

0

0

International Space Station

1,525

1,436

1,451

1,493

1,490

n/s

Space Transportation

2,254

2,668

2,589

2,346

2,110

n/s

Space and Flight Support

839

923

903

910

1,000

n/s

Commercial LEO Development

40

15

Education / STEM Engagement

119

115

100

100

110

120

Space Grant

40

40

40

40

44

48

EPSCoR

18

18

18

18

21

24

MUREP

32

32

32

32

33

36

Other

29

25

10

10

12

12

Safety, Security, & Mission Svcs.

2,755

2,772

2,769

2,827

2,755

2,913b

Construction and EC&R

446

427

485c

657d

372

373

Inspector General

37

37

38

39

39

42

Total

18,010

19,285

19,762c

20,817d

21,500

22,629ab

Sources: FY2015-FY2019 from NASA FY2017-FY2021 congressional budget justifications. FY2020 from P.L. 116-93 and explanatory statement, Congressional Record, December 17, 2019, pp. H10969-H10971.

Notes: Some totals may not add because of rounding. R&D = Research and Development. LEO = Low Earth Orbit. STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. EPSCoR = Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. MUREP = Minority University Research and Education Program. EC&R = Environmental Compliance and Remediation. n/s = not specified.

a. Not adjusted to reflect rescission of $70 million from prior year unobligated balances (Section 521(c)).

b. Does not include an additional $60 million that would be appropriated by the CARES Act (H.R. 748).

c. Includes $109 million in additional emergency funding from Section 540 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 115-31) that is not shown in the NASA FY2019 congressional budget justification.

d. Includes $81 million in supplemental emergency funding from the Further Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2018 (Division B of P.L. 115-123) that is not shown in the NASA FY2020 congressional budget justification.

Table 2. NASA Appropriations and Authorizations, FY2020

(budget authority in $ millions)

 

 

FY2020 Appropriations

FY2020 Auths.

 

FY2019
Enacted

Original Request

Budget Amdt.

House

Senate

Enacted

House

Senate

Science

$6,906

$6,304

+$90

$7,161

$6,906

$7,139

$7,139

$6,906

Earth Science

1,931

1,780

 

2,023

1,945

1,972

1,972

n/s

Planetary Science

2,759

2,622

 

2,713

2,631

2,713

2,713

n/s

Astrophysics

1,192

845

 

1,368

1,172

1,306

1,306

n/s

James Webb Space Telescope

305

353

 

353

423

423

423

n/s

Heliophysics

720

705

 

705

735

725

725

n/s

Aeronautics

725

667

 

700

784

784

784

784

Space Tech. / Exploration Tech.

927

1,014

+132

1,292

1,076

1,100

1,100

1,076

Exploration / Deep Sp. Exp. Sys.

5,051

5,022

+1,375

5,130

6,223

6,018

6,018

6,223

Exploration Systems Development

4,093

3,442

 

4,168

4,583

4,583

4,583

n/s

Orion

1,350

1,266

 

1,425

1,407

1,407

1,407

n/s

Space Launch System

2,150

1,775

 

2,150

2,586

2,586

2,586

n/s

Exploration Ground Systems

593

400

 

593

590

590

590

n/s

Exploration R&D

958

1,580

 

962

1,640

1,435

1,435

n/s

Space Ops. / LEO and Spflt. Ops.

4,639

4,286

 

4,286

4,150

4,140

4,140

4,150

International Space Station

n/s

1,458

 

n/s

n/s

n/s

n/s

n/s

Space Transportation

n/s

1,829

 

n/s

n/s

n/s

n/s

n/s

Space and Flight Support

n/s

849

 

n/s

n/s

n/s

n/s

n/s

Commercial LEO Development

40

150

 

n/s

15

15

n/s

n/s

STEM Engagement

110

0

 

124

112

120

120

112

Space Grant

44

0

 

49

47

48

48

n/s

EPSCoR

21

0

 

25

22

24

24

n/s

MUREP

33

0

 

37

33

36

36

n/s

Other

12

0

 

13

10

12

12

n/s

Safety, Security, & Mission Svcs.

2,755

3,085

 

3,085

2,935

2,913a

2,913

2,935

Construction and EC&R

348

600

 

497

524

373

373

524

Inspector General

39

42

 

42

40

42

42

40

Total

21,500

21,019

+1,597

22,316

22,750

22,629a

22,629

22,750

Sources: FY2019 enacted from P.L. 116-6 and H.Rept. 116-9. Original Request from FY2020 NASA congressional budget justification. Budget Amendment from Estimate #1, May 13, 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FY20_Budget_Amendment_5-13-19.pdf. House from H.R. 3055 as passed by the House (June 2019) and H.Rept. 116-101. Senate from H.R. 3055 as passed by the Senate (October 2019) and S.Rept. 116-127. Enacted from P.L. 116-93 and explanatory statement, Congressional Record, December 17, 2019, pp. H10969-H10971. House authorization from H.R. 5666 as introduced. Senate authorization from S. 2800 as introduced.

Notes: Some totals may not add because of rounding. R&D = Research and Development. LEO = Low Earth Orbit. EPSCoR = Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. MUREP = Minority University Research and Education Program. EC&R = Environmental Compliance and Remediation. n/s = not specified. See text for name changes and variations in program content. The budget amendment does not provide a further breakdown of the additional requested amounts.

a. Does not include an additional $60 million that would be appropriated by the CARES Act (H.R. 748).

Table 3. NASA Appropriations and Authorizations, FY2021

(budget authority in $ millions)

 

 

FY2021 Appropriations

 

FY2020
Enacted

Request

House

Senate

Enacted

Science

$7,139a

$6,307

 

 

 

Earth Science

1,972

1,768

 

 

 

Planetary Science

2,713

2,660

 

 

 

Astrophysics

1,306

831

 

 

 

James Webb Space Telescope

423

415

 

 

 

Heliophysics

725

633

 

 

 

Aeronautics

784

819

 

 

 

Space Tech. / Exploration Tech.

1,100

1,578

 

 

 

Exploration / Deep Sp. Exp. Sys.

6,018

8,762

 

 

 

Exploration Systems Development

4,583

4,042

 

 

 

Orion

1,407

1,401

 

 

 

Space Launch System

2,586

2,257

 

 

 

Exploration Ground Systems

590

385

 

 

 

Exploration R&D

1,435

4,719

 

 

 

Space Ops. / LEO and Spflt. Ops.

4,140

4,187

 

 

 

International Space Station

n/s

1,401

 

 

 

Space Transportation

n/s

1,878

 

 

 

Space and Flight Support

n/s

759

 

 

 

Commercial LEO Development

15

150

 

 

 

STEM Engagement

120

0

 

 

 

Space Grant

48

0

 

 

 

EPSCoR

24

0

 

 

 

MUREP

36

0

 

 

 

Other

12

0

 

 

 

Safety, Security, & Mission Svcs.

2,913b

3,010

 

 

 

Construction and EC&R

373

539

 

 

 

Inspector General

42

44

 

 

 

Total

22,629ab

25,246

 

 

 

Sources: FY2020 enacted from P.L. 116-93 and explanatory statement, Congressional Record, December 17, 2019, pp. H10969-H10971. Request from FY2021 NASA congressional budget justification.

Notes: Some totals may not add because of rounding. R&D = Research and Development. LEO = Low Earth Orbit. EPSCoR = Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. MUREP = Minority University Research and Education Program. EC&R = Environmental Compliance and Remediation. n/s = not specified. See text for name changes and variations in program content.

a. Not adjusted to reflect rescission of $70 million from prior year unobligated balances (Section 521(c)).

b. Does not include an additional $60 million that would be appropriated by the CARES Act (H.R. 748).

Figure 1. NASA Funding, FY1958-FY2020

Source: Compiled by CRS. FY1958-FY2008 from National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Aeronautics and Space Report of the President: Fiscal Year 2008 Activities, http://history.nasa.gov/presrep2008.pdf, Table D-1A. FY2009-FY2014 from NASA congressional budget justifications, FY2011-FY2016. FY2015-FY2020 as in Table 1. Current dollars deflated to FY2020 dollars using GDP (chained) price index from President's budget for FY2021, Historical Table 10.1, https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/historical-tables/.

Note: Transition quarter between FY1976 and FY1977 not shown. FY2020 amount does not include an additional $60 million that would be appropriated by the CARES Act (H.R. 748).

Author Contact Information

Daniel Morgan, Specialist in Science and Technology Policy ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

FY2016, FY2017, and FY2019 Education and STEM Engagement amounts are not shown in the FY2018, FY2019, and FY2021 congressional budget justifications and are instead taken from the explanatory statement for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113), Congressional Record, December 17, 2015, pp. H9741-H9743; the explanatory statement for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 115-31), Congressional Record, May 3, 2017, pp. H3374-H3375; and the explanatory statement for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-93), Congressional Record, December 17, 2019, pp. H10969-H10971.