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NASA submits its 2025 budget request, with several helpful updates

NASA submits its 2025 budget request, with several helpful updates

On March 11, NASA submitted its 2025 budget request. It is a document prepared by the space agency that lists funding requests for the following year, with projections for the following years and a description of the programs and projects that will be funded.

The request for 2025 submitted by NASA is 25 billion and 383 million. This is a budget 2% larger than what Congress gave NASA for 2024, a value that was only confirmed on March 8, 2024.

More importantly, this amount requested by NASA for next year is 8.5% less than what was estimated in last year’s budget request document for the year 2025, that is, 27 billion and 728 million.

In the following chart, we've represented the trend of budgets requested by NASA in recent years (in blue), budgets already allocated by Congress (in pink), and current budget projections for the next few years, in purple.

NASA's previous projections were for a budget of $29 billion for 2029. These new numbers tell a different story, but perhaps not that much different. From the approved budget for 2024, we can see that almost all programs have been confirmed, or at most slightly reduced.

The biggest cut was to the Mars Sample Return program, which suffered roughly $550 million in cuts. The other side of the coin also relates to the historical moment and the economic situation.

Change of direction coming?

The 2025 budget will be the last approved under the current administration, and there is uncertainty in the United States that the next budget may be from another party. This leads to partial caution when submitting the budget request for next year.

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Moreover, NASA's forecasts for the following years also adjust for inflation expectations, which this year are much more positive than last year. As inflation rises, the value of the dollar decreases each year, so more money is needed to do the same things.

From this last slide, also published in the NASA document, we finally see how the largest program NASA has worked on to date, the Artemis program, is increasingly moving forward, and so far only the Artemis II, III and IV programs have been programmed for this purpose. A decade away, but there are likely to be many postponements around the corner.

Updates and the future

NASA's 2025 budget request document does not contain any major changes. It has been officially confirmed for the first time that the Viper lunar module will be postponed to 2025. Funding has also been confirmed, which will begin in 2025 to build the vehicle to deorbit the International Space Station starting in 2029.

The budget requested by NASA for 2025 is therefore not at all ambitious, but perhaps very realistic given the economic and political situation of 2024. However, the odds of a significant change for 2026 are very high. In 2025, we will actually have more confirmations about Artemis, and the dates on which we will see Artemis 3, but also more information about China's programs towards the Moon and Mars, which could significantly boost NASA's prospects.

NASA's full 2025 budget request document Yes You can read here.