President Proposes Cuts For Aeronautics Funding

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On Monday, President Bush announced that his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2007 would include $16.8 billion for NASA, a 3.2-percent increase over 2006. But the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate would see its budget cut by 22 percent. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said the $724.4 million aeronautics allotment would be focused on "the mastery of our core competencies in subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic flight." John Douglass, president of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), said the cuts "would continue a debilitating decline in aeronautics research investment." The AIA said funding for aeronautics has been slashed repeatedly since 1994, when $1.5 billion was budgeted. Griffin, of NASA, said that while it's important that the nation's aviation industry does not lose market share to global competitors, "NASA's aeronautics research cannot and will not directly subsidize work to specific corporate interests." Rather, NASA's R&D will focus its aeronautics research on fundamental questions in aeronautics research, he said. Under the president's plan, NASA's Langley Research Center would lose about $50 million, and at Glenn Research Center, near Cleveland, more than 300 jobs would be eliminated.