April 9 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden is seeking $24.7 billion for NASA in his 2022 budget released Friday, boosting funding for the agency's Artemis program as well as weather and climate efforts.
The budget request represents a 6.3% increase over the $23.27 billion funding NASA received in the 2021 fiscal year.
Steve Jurczyk, NASA's acting administrator, said the funding demonstrates Biden's "commitment to NASA and its partners who have worked so hard this past year under difficult circumstances and achieved unprecedented success."
"The president's discretionary request increases NASA's ability to better understand Earth and further monitor and predict the impacts of climate change."
The 58-page budget request, which is light on specifics, includes $6.9 billion for the human exploration program, such as the Artemis program. The program was created in 2017 by the Trump administration with the stated goal of returning Americans to the moon by 2024.
NASA officials see the mission as laying the groundwork for eventual human exploration of Mars.
Since Artemis' inception, the goal has been to include the first woman to walk on the moon. For the first time Friday, Jurczyk said the mission also plans to send the first person of color.
Biden's budget "gives us the necessary resources to continue advancing America's bipartisan moon to Mars space exploration plan, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the moon under the Artemis program."
Included in the budget was $2.3 billion for NASA's earth science program to fund the "next generation of earth-observing satellites" to study climate.
Also targeting climate issues is $2 billion in funding for weather satellite programs to improve weather and climate forecasts for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The space technology program would get $1.4 billion to grow the commercial space industry and research to develop clean energy.
And $147 million is slated for NASA's education initiative STEM Engagement, which seeks to attract underrepresented students in STEM fields.
"We know this funding increase comes at a time of constrained resources, and we owe it to the president and the American people to be good and responsible stewards of every tax dollar invested in NASA," Jurczyk said.