The Obama administration's proposed 2012 National Aeronautics and Space Administration budget, estimated to total more than $18.5 billion, scales back funding for private rockets and spacecraft future to take astronauts into orbit, according to government and industry officials. The White House's expenses plan for manned space exploration seeks to avoid last year's argument between Congress and President Barack Obama, according to government and industry officials. Slated to be released Monday, it also imagine step up international cooperation, despite widespread space and scientific budget cutback in Europe.
Mr. Obama's earlier bid to slash the agency's customary manned programs for allegedly being too slow and costly sparked opposition on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers also balked at White House proposal to outsource some core NASA functions by shifting much of the agency's focus to encourage what have been called business space taxis. This time, these officials said, the agency's request is likely to track main element of a bipartisan compromise Congress finally approved last year. That package limited funding for commercial-space efforts but recognized about $11 billion over five years substantially more than the White House requested to accelerate government growth of heavy lift rockets able to reach deeper into space.
For 2012, the bipartisan contract envision roughly $18.7 billion in overall NASA expenditures. Last week, Lori Garver, NASA's deputy administrator, told an industry meeting in Washington that the new budget would be broadly reliable with that compromise, though she didn't elaborate. Days later, Rep. Frank Wolf, the Virginia Republican who heads the House appropriations subcommittee with right over NASA, said the agency was "just wallowing" and lawmakers have been "concerned about the administration's hostility toward manned spaceflight." Commercial space development are years behind plan, and critic still worry about placing undue reliance on them.