For Immediate Release
Office of the
January 14, 2004
President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration
Fact Sheet: A Renewed Spirit of Discovery
Spirit of Discovery
Today's Presidential Action
- Today, President Bush announced a new vision for the Nation's
space exploration program. The President committed the United
States to a long-term human and robotic program to explore the
solar system, starting with a return to the Moon that will
ultimately enable future exploration of Mars and other
- The President's vision affirms our Nation's commitment to
manned space exploration. It gives NASA a new focus and clear
objectives. It will be affordable and sustainable while
maintaining the highest levels of safety.
- The benefits of space technology are far-reaching and affect
the lives of every American. Space exploration has yielded
advances in communications, weather forecasting, electronics, and
countless other fields. For example, image processing technologies
used in lifesaving CAT Scanners and MRIs trace their origins to
technologies engineered for use in space.
Background on Today's Presidential Action
America's history is built on a desire to open new frontiers and
to seek new discoveries. Exploration, like investments in other
Federal science and technology activities, is an investment in our
future. President Bush is committed to a long-term space exploration
program benefiting not only scientific research, but also the lives
of all Americans. The exploration vision also has the potential to
drive innovation, development, and advancement in the aerospace and
other high-technology industries. The President's vision for
exploration will not require large budget increases in the near
term. Instead, it will bring about a sustained focus over time and a
reorientation of NASA's programs.
- NASA spends, and will continue to spend, less than 1 percent
of the Federal budget. Our Nation's investment in space is
reasonable for a tremendously promising program of discovery and
exploration that historically has resulted in concrete benefits as
well as inspiring Americans and people throughout the world.
President Bush's Vision for U.S. Space Exploration
The President's plan for steady human and robotic space
exploration is based on the following goals:
- First, America will complete its work on the International
Space Station by 2010, fulfilling our commitment to our 15 partner
countries. The United States will launch a re-focused research
effort on board the International Space Station to better
understand and overcome the effects of human space flight on
astronaut health, increasing the safety of future space missions.
- To accomplish this goal, NASA will return the Space Shuttle
to flight consistent with safety concerns and the
recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
The Shuttle's chief purpose over the next several years will be
to help finish assembly of the Station, and the Shuttle will be
retired by the end of this decade after nearly 30 years of
- Second, the United States will begin developing a new manned
exploration vehicle to explore beyond our orbit to other worlds --
the first of its kind since the Apollo Command Module. The new
spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, will be developed and
tested by 2008 and will conduct its first manned mission no later
than 2014. The Crew Exploration Vehicle will also be capable of
transporting astronauts and scientists to the International Space
Station after the Shuttle is retired.
- Third, America will return to the Moon as early as 2015 and no
later than 2020 and use it as a stepping stone for more ambitious
missions. A series of robotic missions to the Moon, similar to the
Spirit Rover that is sending remarkable images back to Earth from
Mars, will explore the lunar surface beginning no later than 2008
to research and prepare for future human exploration. Using the
Crew Exploration Vehicle, humans will conduct extended lunar
missions as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working
there for increasingly extended periods.
- The extended human presence on the Moon will enable
astronauts to develop new technologies and harness the Moon's
abundant resources to allow manned exploration of more
challenging environments. An extended human presence on the Moon
could reduce the costs of further exploration, since lunar-based
spacecraft could escape the Moon's lower gravity using less
energy at less cost than Earth-based vehicles. The experience
and knowledge gained on the Moon will serve as a foundation for
human missions beyond the Moon, beginning with Mars.
- NASA will increase the use of robotic exploration to
maximize our understanding of the solar system and pave the way
for more ambitious manned missions. Probes, landers, and similar
unmanned vehicles will serve as trailblazers and send vast
amounts of knowledge back to scientists on Earth.
Key Points on the President's FY 2005 Budget
- The funding added for exploration will total $12 billion over
the next five years. Most of this added funding for new
exploration will come from reallocation of $11 billion that is
currently within the five-year total NASA budget of $86 billion.
- In the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 budget, the President will
request an additional $1 billion to NASA's existing five-year
plan, or an average of $200 million per year.
- From 1992 to 2000, NASA's budget decreased by a total of 5
percent. Since the year 2000, NASA's budget has increased by
approximately 3 percent per year.
- From the current 2004 level of $15.4 billion, the President's
proposal will increase NASA's budget by an average of 5 percent
per year over the next three years, and at approximately 1 percent
or less per year for the two years after those.
President's Commission on the Implementation of U.S. Space
To ensure that NASA maintains a sense of focus and direction
toward accomplishing this new mission, the President has directed
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe to review all current space flight
and exploration and direct them toward the President's goals. The
President also formed a Commission on the Implementation of U.S.
Space Exploration Policy to advise NASA on the long-term
implementation of the President's vision.
Space Technology Affects the Lives of Every American
More than 1,300 NASA and other U.S. space technologies have
contributed to U.S. industry, improving our quality of life and
helping save lives.
- Image processing used in CAT Scanners and MRI technology in
hospitals worldwide came from technology developed to
computer-enhanced pictures of the Moon for the Apollo programs.
- Kidney dialysis machines were developed as a result of a
NASA-developed chemical process, and insulin pumps were based on
technology used on the Mars Viking spacecraft.
- Programmable Heart Pacemakers were first developed in the
1970s using NASA satellite electrical systems.
- Fetal heart monitors were developed from technology originally
used to measure airflow over aircraft wings.
- Surgical probes used to treat brain tumors in children
resulted from special lighting technology developed for plant
growth experiments on Space Shuttle missions.
- Infrared hand-held cameras used to observe blazing plumes from
the Shuttle have helped firefighters point out hot spots in brush
- Satellite communications allow news organizations to provide
live, on-the-spot broadcasting from anywhere in the world;
families and businesses to stay in touch using cellphone networks;
and the simple pleasures of satellite TV and radio, and the
convenience of ATMs across the country and around the world.