Space shuttle Atlantis is seen as it launches from pad 39A on Friday, July 8, 2011, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch of Atlantis, STS-135, is the final flight of the shuttle program, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Congress Wants to Give NASA the Best Christmas Gift: Cold Hard Cash—Even More Than Last Year

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Not only is congress planning to give NASA more money than president Obama even asked for, but that means they’re increasing NASA’s budget from 2015 by $1.27 billion. What alternate universe is this? Also, where are your hoverboards sold? I assume they actually exist in this wonderful utopia.

Back to NASA (for a second), congressional Republicans’ budget proposal for 2016 includes close to $19.3 billion in funding for the space agency. At the beginning of 2015, the Obama administration outlined a plan for $18.5 billion in funding for NASA, so this new plan is an unexpectedly sizable bump. However, we still have to see what happens when congress actually votes on it on Friday, December 18.

If the funding does go through, that’s good news for NASA’s ambitious programs like the next-generation Space Launch System and their commercial partners for human spaceflight. A report that goes along with the spending bill explains that NASA is expected to get its partners, SpaceX and Boeing, to make their first crewed launches to the ISS by 2017. Additionally, the Space Launch System, which is meant for missions to deep space locations like Mars, will receive $2 billion under the new budget plan, which is $300 million more than was provided for it in 2015.

This is all good news for NASA, which isn’t particularly accustomed to hearing good budgetary news. Of course, we’ll still have to cross our fingers and hope everything goes alright with the budget on Friday. Maybe with Donald Trump taking over their party, Republicans are just really eager for a better way to get off this planet?

(via The Verge, image via NASA/Bill Ingalls/Eugene on Flickr)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.