NASA has often gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to federal budgets, but a rather fascinating thing happened when the US House of Representatives recently passed its massive $1.1 trillion spending bill. NASA’s 2015 budget actually saw an increase of 2% over 2014 levels, which is even more than the agency asked for. That means more space science is getting done next year. Under the new budget, NASA would receive a total of $18 billion. That’s $364 million more than last year. NASA requested $500 million less than that, but it will surely be happy to take the extra cash.
NASA is poised to see an increased budget for 2015, after the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan spending bill late Thursday. Under the so-called “Cromnibus” bill, the federal space agency’s overall budget will rise by 2 percent to $18 billion next year — an increase of $364 million from current levels, and $500 million more than NASA requested in March. The $1.1 trillion spending bill, passed just hours before a midnight deadline to avert a government shutdown, now moves on to the Senate, which is expected to vote this weekend. The budget for NASA’s science mission will rise by 2 percent to $5.24 billion next year, with the $1.44 billion planetary sciences division receiving $160 million more than what President Barack Obama requested earlier this year. The bill calls for the division to spend “no less than $100 million” on a mission to the icy Jupiter moon of Europa, which had been a point of contention between the White House and Congress. The increase notably comes without cuts to other space science divisions, which scientists see as an encouraging sign.