4 February 1998
CONTACT: Karen Rugg, 202-543-1900
(Washington, DC) -- With the unveiling of the Clinton Administration's proposed $13.5 billion FY99 budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), funding for the agency has been decreased for the sixth year in a row. According to the President's budget, NASA is also the only agency within the science community not receiving an increase for research and development as part of the Administration's "Preparing for the 21st Century" research fund.
"The Administration has set its priorities and NASA clearly isn't among them," said Pat Dasch, NSS executive director. "On the same day that the White House holds up NASA's successful Mars missions as the model to emulate, it weakens NASA with a funding proposal that makes it more difficult for the agency to maintain today's momentum, let alone plan for the future."
Ms. Dasch adds, "Our concern is not with NASA, it is with our nation's leadership. NASA has proven that it can do more with less. On Monday they presented a strategy for continuing a series of robotic missions that opens the way to new solar system exploration. But 'faster, better, cheaper' can only go so far. We are concerned that NASA's potential to be a world leader as we move into a new millenium will be compromised by lack of Administration interest in space exploration."
In response to the budget announcement, the NSS will call on Congress to support a request by House Speaker Gingrich and 200 members of the House to increase NASA's FY99 funding by 4%. The NSS proposes that those monies be directed to space transportation and to covering any future cost overruns for the International Space Station. "We will also continue to urge the Administration to consider NASA for a FY98 supplemental to help with costs for the International Space Station," she adds.
The National Space Society, founded in 1974, is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 23,000 members and 90 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization. Information on NSS and space exploration is available at http://www.nss.org/.