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NASA Glenn Would Receive More Than $800 Million In Trump's Proposed Budget

NASA is continuing efforts to get a man — and the first woman — on the moon by 2024. The overall budget “is ever increasing,” agency officials said Monday, though funding for Glenn Research Center in Brook Park is actually expected to drop significantly next fiscal year.

The 2021 budget request includes a requested $802.4 million for NASA Glenn. The unofficial 2020 budget is around $945 million, said Chief Fiscal Officer Vicki Hagerman. Contracts accounted for in that budget won’t carry into the next fiscal year, she said.

“We will not see that big plus-up for that fixed-price contract award this year,” she said.

Even without those contracts, the suburban Cleveland research facility will maintain steady workforce numbers, according to Director Marla Pérez-Davis.

“The budget shows not just the purpose but the advantages of the agency for the workforce and the capabilities that we have here in Northeast Ohio,” Pérez-Davis said.

NASA Glenn is involved in new projects though, she said, including jet propulsion technology development and research into sustainable space travel. Those projects aim to assist the Artemis missions, the effort to get humans back on the moon and eventually, to Mars.

“And one of the things we need is to develop and test those technologies on the surface of the moon if we want to continue, to go to Mars,” Pérez-Davis said.

Such tests include researching ways to create a water source from the ice caps on the moon, as well as methods to reuse space waste as fuel for spacecraft and more efficiently gather solar energy.

Details on the new projects came as part of the State of NASA address delivered Monday by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine from the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The address included updates on many NASA projects, including the Artemis programs.

The fiscal 2021 NASA budget request includes $3.3 billion for the development of a human landing system, Briedenstine said, which will be the first new landing system for the space agency since the Apollo Program in the 1960s.

“Technology drives exploration, and technology development will be essential for exploring the moon and preparing crews for long-term missions on Mars,” Bridenstine said.

Testing is also underway for the Orion spacecraft, currently housed at the Plum Brook Station in Sandusky.

“Orion is the first human spacecraft we’ve built for deep-space missions in over a generation,” Bridenstine said. “Last year, engineers fully assembled the Orion spacecraft in preparation for the Artemis 1 mission, and are now halfway through the final testing.”

Orion successfully completed its first round of testing this weekend, Bridenstine said.

The second half of tests are expected to be completed by March, Pérez-Davis said.

“Our plan is to return Orion to Kennedy Space Center and out there it will be integrated with [Space Launch System] rocket, and then we will have the first on-crew launch,” Pérez-Davis said.

The technology developed at Glenn Research Center is integral to achieving the goal of successfully traveling to and surviving on new planets, said NASA Associate Administrator Jim Reuter during his visit to the center Monday.

“Including, our intent with this budget in order to get to a sustainable presence,” Reuter said, “to have a nuclear power source so that we have a sustainable power system that will operate for long periods of time.”

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