NASA will ask Congress for $7.1 billion in budget authority for fiscal 1984, an increase of a little more than 4 percent, but enough to start a few new programs.
The budget includes $29 million to start work on a $350 million spacecraft to orbit Venus and map its cloud-hidden surface with a big radar dish attached to the spacecraft.
It also would provide the money to start work on a tethered satellite that will be held by a Teflon wire from the open payload bay of the space shuttle to a spot less than 90 miles above the Earth's surface. It would be impossible to put an unattached satellite into orbit at that altitude because it quickly would fall out of orbit and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.
Left untouched in the new budget is the $1 billion Large Space Telescope that NASA hopes to launch from the space shuttle in late 1985. Also untouched is the Galileo program, which would send a spacecraft to orbit Jupiter and its four largest moons. However, the agency has dropped plans to probe Jupiter's seething atmosphere.
NASA failed to win the White House's approval of a fifth space shuttle to join the fleet of four it has or has under construction. In its place, however, the new budget includes $400 million for spare parts--such as wings, tails, landing gears and other key shuttle components that might need to be repaired between shuttle flights. The idea is to keep the current fleet in good repair so that flights don't have to be delayed for major repair work.