Langley Director: Proposed $26 billion NASA budget shows "continued support" for Moon mission, other major projects

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Posted at 8:40 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 08:52:00-04

HAMPTON, Va. - As NASA prepares to enter the next phase of the coming Artemis mission to the Moon, it can do so knowing it will continue to have the support to pay for it — at least for the next year.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced his proposed budget for 2023, which included $26 billion for NASA.

"That's showing the administration's continue support of what we do here at NASA Langley and at NASA in general," said Clayton Turner, Director of NASA Langley Research Center.

Of the proposed $26 billion, Turner tells News 3 around $1 billion will fund Langley, with the potential for more money, depending on if the center takes on more projects.

"There are some things where we will compete to win a particular science mission or space technology development mission so those will be things we win during the course of the year," he said.

What's already set? Work aiding major NASA missions, including Artemis and advances in aeronautics and climate research.

Among Langley's contributions to the Artemis project are keeping the Orion space capsule intact during launch, Entry, Descent and Landing on the Moon and radiation protection for the astronauts on board.

In Earthbound science, Langley researchers played a vital role in the development of the X-59 QueSST; a supersonic aircraft with a quiet sonic boom, thus allowing for faster-than-sound travel over land. Another aircraft in development, the X-57 Maxwell, is all-electric. Turner says the budget also supports Langley's work in climate research and environment.

Director since 2019, Turner has now directed Langley under two presidential administrations, but he says budgets have stayed largely consistent.

"The work we do has long tails to it. It takes a while to get some of those things done so we have had good support through multiple administrations. Deciding or adapting to a particular administration's priorities -- We adjust for that and that's really our job," said Turner.

And because the work at Langley can lead to the development of new technologies or the improvement of what's already in use, the money that funds the center eventually makes its way out into the Hampton Roads region.

"We have companies that have started here in Virginia and in Hampton Roads that are using technology that's developed [at Langley] and they will go on and in the future, we will buy things from those companies, so it's driving that economic engine," Turner told News 3.

Congress still has to approve the Biden administration's proppsed budget, but Turner says he doesn't expect any changes to have much of an effect on what's been set aside for NASA.