Budget Highlights

NASA is working to foster a robust commercial ecosystem in low Earth orbit (LEO). The FY 2021 Budget supports the development of the commercial space industry through funding of LEO and Spaceflight Operations, with plans to transition operations to commercial partners in 2025. LEO and Spaceflight Operations include: International Space Station (ISS), Space Transportation, Space and Flight Support (SFS), and Commercial LEO Development. [1]

The ISS promotes commerce in space through public-private partnerships as new commercialization concepts are explored. Through the ISS, NASA meets its own requirements for research and technology development while also supporting a burgeoning community of non-NASA users. [1]

Space Transportation continues NASA’s partnership with U.S. commercial space industry to develop and operate safe, reliable, and affordable systems to transport crew to and from the ISS and LEO. [2]

Space and Flight Support includes funding to begin demonstrations of commercially provided satellite-based communication services, and to continue certification of new commercial launch vehicles. [3]

Funding commercial LEO development stimulates a commercial LEO space economy by partnering with U.S. private industry to enable development of LEO capabilities supporting enabling, developing, and deploying commercial orbital platforms that NASA can use for research and technology demonstration purposes while stimulating non-NASA demand for such platforms. [4]

The FY 2021 NASA budget request for LEO and Spaceflight Operations is $4,187.3 million. Of this total, $1,877.8 million is for Space Transportation, including $99.7 million for Commercial Crew and $1,778.1 million for Crew and Cargo, and $758.7 million is for Space and Flight Support, including $91.9 million for Launch services and $506 million for Space Communications and Navigation. In addition, the FY 2021 budget request provides approximately $150 million in funding to support development and deployment of commercial orbital capabilities for use by NASA and the private sector through the Commercial LEO Development program. [5]


Updated September 2020 by Diane M. Long