NASA is facing about $300 million in additional cuts as part of the broad spending bill the House passed Thursday. (File)
Congress sent a fiscal 2013 spending bill to President Obama on Thursday that will leave NASA with about $1.2 billion less this year than it received last year.
Thanks to the sequester budget cuts already in effect, NASA was bracing for a cut of about $900 million from the roughly $17.8 billion it received in fiscal 2012.
But the space agency is facing about $300 million in additional cuts as part of the broad spending bill the House passed Thursday. The bill finances government operations through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
The House vote sends the bill to the president, who is expected to sign it, averting a threatened government shutdown.
Six months into fiscal 2013, NASA now knows what it will receive for the entire year: $16.65 billion.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. was already fretting about the sequester , even before the additional cuts. He told lawmakers in February that the sequester will “significantly” slow development of a commercial rocket to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, prolonging the need to buy seats — at about $60 million each — on Russian Soyuz rockets.
Bolden also warned lawmakers last month that the sequester will:
Cancel six technology development projects, including work on deep-space optical communications, advanced radiation protection and nuclear systems.
Cancel several flight demonstration projects in development, including one involving the Deep Space Atomic Clock.
Push back modernization of key facilities integral to development of NASA’s deep-space manned mission to Mars. The cuts will affect some of NASA’s most important installations teaming up on the program, including Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Johnson Space Center in Texas and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
NASA spokesman David Weaver said the agency was not planning to comment about the additional cuts that passed the House on Thursday.
As part of that spending bill, lawmakers retained a provision barring NASA from engaging in bilateral work with China, language designed to prevent potential breaches of cybersecurity.
Bolden told members of a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that funding to bolster cybersecurity and safety compliance would be protected from the sequester cuts.
Ledyard King reports for the Gannett Washington Bureau.