NASA Space Plasma Physics Research and Analysis Program



The Research and Analysis (R&A) program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Plasma Physics Branch of the Office of Space Science and Applications supports more than 150 grants and contracts for research. This research program is the primary means by which NASA maintains and advances the broad-based infrastructure for research in space plasma physics in a way that is not tied to specific missions. Although funding levels for space plasma physics to date have not kept up with inflation (overall funding levels are reduced 30% over the past decade when corrected for inflation), the R&A program is beginning to recover, as shown in Figure 1, thanks to a “vitality package” augmentation in fiscal years (FY) 1987 and 1988. Budget totals for the sounding rocket (SR), instrument development, and solar-terrestrial theory (STTP) programs are also shown for comparison (see Eos, April 28, 1987, p. 483). Fiscal health of the R&A program is important to these other programs as well. Although budget authorizations are made strictly on a year-to-year basis, there are several positive signs suggesting that the current upward trend for space plasma physics programs could last several years.