In a head-spinning tweet, President Trump blasted NASA on Friday for its plan to return to the moon, a plan set in motion during a 2017 White House ceremony he presided over, and forcefully endorsed in March on the president’s behalf by Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the revitalized National Space Council.
NASA unveiled an ambitious program Friday to commercialize low-Earth orbit, making way for product development and even advertising aboard the International Space Station, month-long visits by company astronauts starting as early as next year and use of a station docking port for privately financed research-and-development modules.
Later this month, ground teams will send commands for the InSight lander on Mars to use its robotic arm in a series of carefully-choreographed movements to help inspect, and potentially assist, one of the mission’s main geologic instruments that stalled as it hammered into the Red Planet’s crust earlier this year.
A commercial Dragon cargo capsule wrapped up a four-week stay at the International Space Station on Monday with a departure from the complex at 12:01 p.m. EDT (1601 GMT). The spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 5:48 p.m. EDT (2148 GMT) with several tons of research specimens and equipment.