Thursday, October 24, 2013

Funding for US Government Launch-Related Activities

As part of a broader effort looking at impediments to launch services procurement, the GAO summarized US government-wide budget requests for space launch-related activities (pdf). The purpose of the GAO's broader effort is to provide short- and long-term assessments examining impediments to economical procurement of government launch vehicles and launch services across government.

GAO reviewed FY14 through FY18 space launch-related President's Budget (then year dollars) request by NASA, NOAA, and DOD including military services and other offices.
US Government Launch Procurement Budget Requests
(then-year $M) FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 Total
Procurement 4981.4 5819.7 5816.2 5914.4 5915.5 28447.2
RDT&E 2469.0 2473.0 2414.6 2073.9 1834.0 11264.5
Other 1053.5 774.3 770.7 790.0 762.5 4151.0
Total 8503.9 9067.0 9001.5 8778.3 8512.0 43862.7
Total funding seems pretty flat accross the five years examined. Both DOD and NASA are acquiring launch vehicles by launch services contracts. Procurement is about evenly split between DOD and NASA (slightly more by DOD). The bulk of RDT&E dollars are spent by NASA: $10.5 billion over the five years vs. $718 million.

On the slide detailing the RDT&E spending this report cites another GAO report about the FY10 National Defense Authorization Act requirement for the Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to issue a space science and technology strategy every 2 years. GAO recommends DOD coordinate more with NASA and NOAA to leverage their significant RDT&E investment.

I am interested to see what "impediments" GAO finds as a result of their broader effort.

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