The NASA 2009 budget is an increase in its 2008 budget, which according to NASA deputy administrator Shana Dale shows a commitment by the White House for its goals in space and here on Earth.
The new budget includes the following national aeronautics and space projects: (1) $5.78 billion for the space shuttle and space station programs, (2) $4.44 billion for science (including at least fifteen unmanned missions to space), (3) $3.5 billion for research and development for new manned spacecraft and systems (including the Orion spacecraft and the Ares launch vehicles), and (4) $0.447 billion for aeronautics research. The rest of the money goes for other various projects.
In particular, the 2009 budget provides funding to help develop commercial space transportation services to send cargo and possibly crews to the space station after the space shuttles retire in the year 2010.
Dale states, "NASA's budget for FY 2009 provides $173 million for entrepreneurs—from big companies or small ones—to develop commercial transport capabilities to support the International Space Station. NASA is designating $500 million toward the development of this commercial space capability.”
She adds, "With over $2.6 billion in NASA funds available over the next five years to purchase cargo and crew services to support ISS operations, we would much rather be using this money to purchase cargo and crew services from American commercial companies than foreign entities.”
The article is based on the NASA press release: “NASA Unveils $17.6 Billion Budget”.