In what came across as a combination pep rally and old-time revival, Vice President Mike Pence asked flight controllers, engineers and astronauts at the Johnson Space Center Thursday to “rededicate” themselves to carrying out the Trump administration’s drive to establish a permanent U.S. presence around the moon in the early 2020s before eventual voyages to Mars.
The newly re-activated National Space Council is acting quickly to streamline convoluted regulatory requirements that frequently slow development of new commercial space initiatives, a shift in focus in keeping with the Trump Administration’s directive to encourage more private sector development on the high frontier.
In a brief White House ceremony Monday, President Trump formally directed NASA to set its sights on sending astronauts back to the moon followed by eventual flights to Mars as part of a new national space policy intended to make sure America “once again leads and inspires all of humanity” on the high frontier.
Vice President Mike Pence, chairing a revived National Space Council, said Thursday the United States will once again send astronauts to the moon, using Earth’s satellite as a critical stepping stone for eventual flights to Mars, and vowing to beef up national security space assets to counter rapidly escalating threats from adversaries.
Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the recently re-established National Space Council, toured the Kennedy Space Center Thursday and vowed to renew American leadership on the high frontier, telling spaceport workers “our nation will return to the moon, and we will put American boots on the face of Mars.”
NASA has picked 12 engineers, scientists and pilots to begin basic training for future spaceflight assignments from more than 18,300 applicants, adding U.S. military combat veterans, two medical doctors, an MIT professor, an expert on submersibles, a SpaceX launch engineer, a field biologist and a planetary geologist to the agency’s astronaut ranks.
President Donald Trump signed a new NASA authorization bill Tuesday, the first such space policy framework since early in the Obama administration, that largely continues the space agency’s efforts to foster a commercial economy in Earth orbit and explore deep space, with an eventual goal of landing humans on Mars.