TABLE 1.1 Budgets for NASA and NASA Aeronautics for 2000-2011 (in $ millions)
(in $ millions)
(in $ millions)
NOTE: The FY2000 through FY2010 budgets were taken from the enacted columns of the following congressional budget justification documents, but later adjustments may have been implemented. The FY2011 entries reflect the enacted budget from the annual appropriations bill. The years 2000 through 2002 include aerospace technology content, and 2003 through 2011 include only NASA aeronautics. No adjustments have been made to reflect accounting changes or inflation. Thus, it is not possible to make an accurate year-to-year comparison with this data, but overall trends are apparent.
FIGURE 1.2 Aeronautics as a percentage of NASA’s budget for 2000-2011. The spike between 2000 and 2003 reflects a change in accounting practices to “full cost accounting.” SOURCE: NASA.
expense category. (See Figure 1.4.) The fixed cost for salaries and facilities severely limits the resources that can be effectively committed to flight research programs for building the aircraft and hiring the contractors to work on them. One of the results of the overall aeronautics budget decrease has been the elimination of much flight research from NASA’s aeronautics portfolio. Although NASA does continue some flight research, it lacks sufficient funding and focus to conduct flight research in more than a few relatively low-level efforts. (See Box 1.1.)
NASA’s aeronautics research program funding has declined to the point that the agency is unable to advance many projects from the simulation/modeling and/or wind tunnel stage to the flight research stage, and the flight research projects it currently undertakes are not ambitious. Numerous aeronautics projects at NASA cannot advance to become demonstrated or usable technologies unless they are demonstrated in flight research. And because flight research is required to validate models and other research tools, the lack of flight research as an option can cause