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    The human colony on the planet Argo has long explored and exploited the technology left behind by an extinct alien race. But then an archaeology team accidentally activates a terrible weapon...
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Science and Astronomy in the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriation Act

March 12th, 2009

Passing on some information sent to members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS):

Subject – FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriation Act Summary

AAS Informational Email 2009-09
Marcos Huerta
John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow

President Obama signed today the $410 billion FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriation Act, essentially all the leftover appropriations acts from last year, including the Commerce, Justice, Science, and related agencies bill that funds NASA, NSF, and DOE. The measure includes increases above the continuing resolution funding that the agencies have been under since September 30. Details on the funding are below. Links to the bill text and conference report are available at this post on the AAS Public Policy Blog:



Perhaps more important than the funding levels, this appropriations bill’s conference report language (the same location where many of the much talked-about earmarks are placed), is the following text:

“Conference expenses.-Section 1121(a) of the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-422) provides NASA with the discretion to define “conference” for the purposes of that subparagraph. In view of the requirement of the National Aeronautics and Space Act (P.L. 85-568), as amended, that NASA provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof, in no event shall the funds appropriated by this Act be subject to the limitation of section 1121(a) of P.L. 110-442 with respect to NASA expenditures for scientific and technical conferences or education-related conferences in which NASA science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content is disseminated. ”

As you may recall, section 1121 of the NASA Authorization Act limited the amount NASA can spend on travel to conferences.   This limitation was discussed in an information email late last year.   The appropriation report language should remove that restriction, allowing for much easier conference travel for NASA civil servants.

NASA’s overall budget increases 2.2% over FY 2008 to $17.78 billion. The Science Mission Directorate receives $4.503 Billion, a 4.3% increase over FY 2008.   SMD’s numbers are broken down like so (numbers
in thousands).   NASA Science also received $400 million in the stimulus bill; the bulk of that is tagged for accelerating Earth Science decadal missions.

Planetary Science

FY 2008 – $1,247,500
Bush FY 2009 Request – $1,334,200
Omnibus – $1,326,866


FY 2008 – $1,337,500
Bush FY 2009 Request -$1,162,500
Omnibus – $1,201,104


FY 2008 – $840,900
Bush FY 2009 Request $577,300
Omnibus – $606,363

Earth Science

FY 2008 – $1,280,300
Bush FY 2009 Request – $1,367,500
Omnibus – $1,439,584


The NSF receives $6.5 billion, $363 million above 2008, a 5.9% increase from FY 2008. NSF received a significant boost from the stimulus bill, $3 billion, which is effectively an FY 2009 supplemental. Similarly, while the MREFC Research and Related Activities was appropriated $5,183.1 million, 7.0 percent increase. The stimulus bill added an additional $2 billion to R&RA.

Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction, received $152.0 million. This is a decline of $68.7 million or 31.1 percent. However, the stimulus adds $400 million to this number, so MREFC is not seeing
a decline.

Education and Human Resources receives $845.3 million. This is an increase of $119.7 million or 16.5 percent. The stimulus bill adds an additional $100 million.

DOE Office of Science

The omnibus bill contains $4,772.8 million for the DOE Office of Science. This is an increase of $754.9 million (18.8%) from FY 2008. The High Energy Physics division receives $795.7 million; an increase of $107.4 million (15.6 percent) over FY 2008. The stimulus bill contains an additional $1.6 billion for the Office of Science. More details on the DOE number are available from the AIP:


I Just Got This Additional Information:

There was a typographical error in the Informational Email (above) on the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The Science Mission Directorate received $4.503 Billion, a 4.3% decrease ($203.2 million) over FY 2008, not increase, as was written in the informational email text.

I’d like to also note that $240 million for Deep Space Missions System and Near Earth Networks was moved from the Science Mission Directorate account to Space Operations.   Excluding that transfer, the NASA Science budget rose $37 million.   (Not including the additional money for Earth Science in the Stimulus Bill)


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