NASA will spend $200 million on a new space program that will use space exploration to explore the mysteries of the universe and other worlds, its chairman announced Wednesday.
“We will spend that money in a way that gives us the best chance of actually being able to find out more about how the universe works,” Scott Kelly said during a speech at the National Space Society’s annual meeting.
Kelly said the program, called the Space Launch System, will have the ability to send astronauts into space and eventually return them to Earth.
The agency is already building a new launch site for the spacecraft that will launch in 2021.
“It’s a way to get the spacecraft to the place that the space program is going to take us,” Kelly said.NASA has been developing its own space program since the space shuttle shut down in 2011.
The space agency’s budget for the next two years will be $6.3 billion, with a request for funds of $3.8 billion.
The White House has been pushing Congress to increase funding for NASA’s space program.
The House passed the Space Act of 2015 earlier this month, and President Donald Trump has said he wants to spend more than $4 trillion on space exploration.
Kelly was among the White House officials who traveled to Texas last month to meet with lawmakers to discuss the space funding request.
Kelly has also said he will seek a waiver of the president’s 2018 budget cuts to the agency, and Kelly has said NASA is focused on its core missions.