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Marion Blakey: Hypersonic Research Loses Out From Flat Budgets

NASA Photo of Hypersonic Research

NASA and the aerospace industry are affected by flat or declining budgets but but Defense Department programs already underway are impacted as well, an aeronautics industry official said, according to FierceGovernment IT.

Marion Blakey, aeronautics committee chair on NASA’s Advisory Council and president of the Aerospace Industries Association, told the House Science, Space and Technology space and aeronautics subcommittee Thursday the Pentagon’s hypersonic research faces a bleak future.

NASA faces a flat research and development budget and the Pentagon has sequestration as a hurdle to continue joint NASA-Pentagon funded hypersonic research, she said.

Hypersonic research will not advance without flight research, said Wesley Harris, chair of the National Research Council’s committee to assess NASA’s aeronautics flight research capabilities.

Harris said the private sector wants to see advances in this field, but the research should not be shifted to the Pentagon due to lack of funds.

He believes NASA needs to develop hypersonic technology now since the cost to rebuild and catch up later will be enormous.

Harris’ committee did not ask for more funds for NASA’s aeronautics programs but he noted the program would benefit from additional funding.

Shifting 1 percent of NASA’s total funding would allow research efforts to advance in areas of national interest, he said.

Congress’ $570 million allotment to NASA was accurate and proportionally distributed between fundamental and integrated system level research, said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA’s aeronautics research mission directorate.

Shin told the House committee that NASA R&D can be sustained at the current funding level.

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