The NASA budget since 1995

For my accompanying blogs, see:

NASA’s purchase power has dropped 15% since 1995. Updated May 3, 2023, now including the 2023 budget. All budgets are in nominal, then-year dollars. The purchasing power (blue line) calculation uses the NASA 2022 inflation indices. Credit: Edgar Zapata,

…and a comparison of inflation indexes

A comparison of US general inflation and the NASA inflation indexes. Updated 4/21/2023. The data for the general inflation index is from the US BLS. The data for NASA’s inflation indices are the latest from 2022. Credit: Edgar Zapata,


  1. The purchase power line (the blue line, “Purchase Power (PP) in 1995 $”) was calculated using the latest 2022 NASA Inflation Tables.
    • A dollar in 1995, using the general US inflation indexes, would require $2.03 today for the same purchasing power, or using the NASA inflation indexes, $2.06. Overall there is not much difference between the indices.
    • NASA would need about $2 in 2023 to purchase what $1 purchased in 1995. That is, the NASA budget that kept up with inflation today would be about twice the 1995 budget of $14.5 billion. But, NASA’s 2023 budget is less than this equivalent purchasing power. NASA’s budget, to have the same purchasing power in 2023 as in 1995 should be about $29.9 billion, but instead it is $25.4 billion, or 15% less.
  2. For the 2023 budget data, some line items are not detailed in the source data (the final appropriation document), but rather lumped together. For these items, spaceflight operations, cis-lunar investments, Gateway, and AES, the values have been assigned in proportion to their 2022 actual funding. To be updated as data is specified.
  3. In 2021, the Biological/Physical Science line was moved from inside the ISS R&D line to inside the Science line. This was not a one-for-one transfer, as the ISS R&D line dropped twice as much as the Science line increased.
  4. Commercial LEO: 2020 $15M, 2021 $17M, 2022 $101.1M.