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To The Moon And Back: White House Asks For Big Increase In NASA Budget

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To The Moon And Back: White House Asks For Big Increase In NASA Budget

The White House is asking for a 12% increase in the budget for NASA as the space agency continues to push its ambitious Artemis program to send people back to the moon and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

The budget proposal requests $25.246 billion, an increase of more than $2.5 billion. The Artemis program, which seeks to have humans on the moon again by 2024, relying heavily on private contractors, is a major beneficiary of the proposed additional spending.

“The reinforced support from the President comes at a critical time as we lay the foundations for landing the first woman and the next man on the South Pole of the Moon by 2024," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement on the budget request. "This budget keeps us firmly on that path."

Landing Humans On The Moon

The Trump Administration budget asks for more than $3.3 billion for development of human landing systems, up from $600 million this past year. Among the companies that could benefit from increased spending on the lunar landing program are the Jeff Bezos-owned company Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT), Northrop Grumman Corporation(NYSE: NOC), aerospace and defense contractor Draper, Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), and Elon Musk's SpaceX, among other smaller contractors.

NASA also is working to get American companies flying to the International Space Station as ferries for astronauts, a program that currently involves SpaceX and Boeing.

Lunar Payload Carriers

The NASA budget would also support the agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, a part of the Artemis program that aims to deliver supplies to the moon using robotic spacecraft, ahead of the planned human landings.

It has awarded some of those contracts already, including one to Astrobotic, which will carry 11 NASA payloads to the lunar surface starting next year, and Intuitive Machine, which will carry five payloads to the moon.

The Commercial Lunary Payload Services program would get about $250 million for robot lunar payload delivery under the proposed budget.

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