Budget FY18 – Legislative Update March 2017


Update from AFEU President Lee Stone re: the 3/16/17 rollout

of the President’s proposed FY18 NASA Budget


Subject: [AFEU] The President’s proposed FY18 NASA budget

Dear Ames Federal Employee:

Below please find today’s rollout of the “blueprint” of the President’s proposed FY18 budget and attached please find IFPTE proposal sent to Congress earlier this week.  The games have begun. Congressional Appropriators will now in earnest start the process of generating the various FY18 Appropriation bills. Your Union will be working diligently towards achieving as close to the budget in our letter as possible. We will also keep you informed as this process moves forward.

While the top line is not nearly as bad as what is happening to other R&D agencies (e.g. EPA and NOAA), the cuts to Earth Science as well as the elimination of the office of Education are quite troubling.  My guess is that Congress will restore the Office of Education but the fate of Earth Science remains unclear (although the President’s proposed cuts are not as bad as things could have been).

The proposed workforce reductions are not much different than those mandated in the past and are achievable through attrition so we are not looking at major disruptions at least through FY18.

In solidarity,

–Lee Stone, President, Ames Federal Employees Union, IFPTE Local 30



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for increasing understanding of the universe and our place in it, advancing America’s world-leading aerospace technology, inspiring the Nation, and opening the space frontier. The Budget increases cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships, focuses the Nation’s efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, and develops technologies that would help achieve U.S. space goals and benefit the economy. The President’s 2018 Budget requests $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level, with targeted increases consistent with the President’s priorities.


The President’s 2018 Budget:

  • Supports and expands public-private partnerships as the foundation of future U.S. civilian space efforts. The Budget creates new opportunities for collaboration with industry on space station operations, supports public-private partnerships for deep-space habitation and exploration systems, funds data buys from companies operating small satellite constellations, and supports work with industry to develop and commercialize new space technologies.
  • Paves the way for eventual over-land commercial supersonic flights and safer, more efficient air travel with a strong program of aeronautics research. The Budget provides $624 million for aeronautics research and development.
  • Reinvigorates robotic exploration of the Solar System by providing $1.9 billion for the Planetary Science program, including funding for a mission to repeatedly fly by Jupiter’s icy ocean moon Europa and a Mars rover that would launch in 2020. To preserve the balance of NASA’s science portfolio and maintain flexibility to conduct missions that were determined to be more important by the science community, the Budget provides no funding for a multi-billion-dollar mission to land on Europa. The Budget also supports initiatives that use smaller, less expensive satellites to advance science in a cost-effective manner.
  • Provides $3.7 billion for continued development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and associated ground system, to send American astronauts on deep-space missions. To accommodate increasing development costs, the Budget cancels the multi-billion-dollar Asteroid Redirect Mission. NASA will investigate approaches for reducing the costs of exploration missions to enable a more expansive exploration program.
  • Provides $1.8 billion for a focused, balanced Earth science portfolio that supports the priorities of the science and applications communities, a savings of $102 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. The Budget terminates four Earth science missions (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR, Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder) and reduces funding for Earth science research grants.
  • Eliminates the $115 million Office of Education, resulting in a more focused education effort through NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Office of Education has experienced significant challenges in implementing a NASA-wide education strategy and is performing functions that are duplicative of other parts of the agency.
  • Restructures a duplicative robotic satellite refueling demonstration mission to reduce its cost and better position it to support a nascent commercial satellite servicing industry, resulting in a savings of $88 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.
  • Strengthens NASA’s cybersecurity capabilities, safeguarding critical systems and data.