Space Operations

The requested FY 2023 budget for Space Operations ($4,266.3 billion) is split between five themes: International Space Station ($1,307.5 billion), Space Transportation ($1,759.5 billion), Space and Flight Support ($975 million), Commercial LEO (low-Earth Orbit) Development ($224.3 million), and Exploration Operations (TBD).[1]


  • Space Transportation Theme: The Crew and Cargo Program manages transportation services, while the Commercial Crew Program develops and operates safe, reliable, and affordable crew transportation systems that can transport humans to and from the International Space Station (ISS), as well as other places in the low-Earth orbit.[2]
  • The Space and Flight Support Theme (SFS) focuses on providing mission critical space communications, astronaut training, and launch and test services.[3]
    • The Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program provides communication for various LEO missions, such as suborbital missions, ISS, and some lunar orbital missions using the Near Space Network. The Deep Space Network will be used, initially, to provide main communication links to Artemis missions and missions that are the greatest distance from Earth. SCaN is making preparations for missions to the moon and increasing its infrastructure for robotic and human moon exploration.[4]
    • A variety of other programs are under the Space and Flight Support theme including the Communication Services Program, the Launch Services Program, the Rocket Propulsion Test Program, and the Human Space Flight Operations Program.[5]
    • Human Research Program (HRP) is moving to the Space and Flight Support theme.[6]
  • The development of commercial space economy in LEO is the focus of NASA’s Commercial LEO Development effort. Per NASA’s ISS Transition Report in January 2022, NASA’s goal is to transition from current ISS operations to this new commercial enterprise.[7]
  • The Exploration Operations theme was constructed with the intent to manage mission operations, sustainment, and production of exploration hardware and capabilities developed in the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. Funding for this theme will be provided as Artemis campaigns finish initial development and production of hardware and/or capability and show that they can move into production and sustainment mode. Orion Production and Sustainment and Exploration Operations Program are the initial two programs under this theme. Orion Production and Sustainment transferred from Deep Space Exploration Systems account. Artemis campaign programs, such as Exploration Ground Systems (EGS), Space Launch System (SLS), Gateway, and Human Landing System will transition to this theme in the future.[8]
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has announced the U.S. commitment to ISS operation extension through 2030.[9]

Activities within the Space Operations account are managed by the Space Operations Mission Directorate.[10]

Space Operations Mission Directorate Organization Chart:

Source: NASA

Updated November 2022, by Jackie Johnson