The National Aeronautics and Space Administration fared well in the administration's 2007 budget proposal, gaining a $16.8 billion increase.
The NASA spending proposal is part of a $2.77 trillion budget unveiled Monday, and will keep alive plans to send astronauts back to the moon and then to Mars, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Tuesday.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told reporters he considers the proposed NASA budget "a modest investment to extend the frontiers of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research."
"As we look forward to the events that will define this century and beyond, I have no doubt that the expansion of human presence into the solar system will be among the greatest of our achievements," said Griffin.
He said the budget proposal would, among other things, help NASA complete the assembly of the International Space Station, as well as provide more than $5.3 billion in funding for NASA's science missions.
Griffin admitted the budget departs from his previous promise not to take money from science to pay for NASA's space exploration plans, the Sentinel reported.
"I wish we hadn't had to do it," he said.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: New Horizons spacecraft stays the course to Pluto