NASA's $25.4 billion budget for 2023 includes funding for second moon lander alongside SpaceX Starship.


This SpaceX concept shows the company's massive Starship vehicle on the moon. (Image credit: SpaceX)
This SpaceX concept shows the company's massive Starship vehicle on the moon. (Image credit: SpaceX)

NASA can continue looking for a another moon lander in addition to Starship.

According to SpaceNews, the $1.7 trillion omnibus package voted by Congress on December 23 included $25.384 billion for NASA, including full funding for a second lunar landing for the Artemis mission to complement SpaceX's Starship (opens in new tab).

However, the overall budget is less than the about $26 billion White House proposal made in March.

The most recent solicitation, which ended on December 6, only accepted applications from two major teams to provide Human Landing Services on the moon. For their "National Team(opens in new tab)," which also consists of Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee Robotics, Blue Origin is in the lead. Leidos Dynetics is leading a tea for Northrop Grumman (opens in new tab).

Following a controversial HLS bidding process in 2020–21 that saw SpaceX chosen as the lone competitor, which caused protests and an overturned lawsuit, Congress charged NASA with finding a second business.

The amount allotted to NASA is 5.6% higher than the $24.041 billion it received in fiscal year 2022, but given the rate of inflation, it will have less money available than it did then.

Science did not, even if NASA's exploration program and space operations did so fully.

"The total amount allocated to science is $7.795 billion, over $200 million less than what was requested. While astrophysics, Earth science, and the biological and physical sciences see reductions, planetary science and heliophysics receive slightly more funding than anticipated "SpaceNews published.

One of the most noticeable changes was the Near Earth Object Surveyor, which received $90 million (more than double the $40 million NASA requested) in an effort to launch it into space as quickly as possible. On December 6, NASA declared that the mission had successfully navigated a crucial fork in the road to orbit.

Congress raised alarm over NASA's intentions to push back the launch date to 2028, pointing out that the organization is falling short of its goal of discovering 90% of objects with a diameter of 460 feet (140 meters). However, agency officials informed SpaceNews that the additional funding is insufficient to ensure a successful launch in 2026.

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