Mike Pence: 'America Will Lead in Space Again'

06 October, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Grady King
  • Enlarge  Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Kennedy Space Center earlier this

Trump administration officials are pledging to send Americans back to the moon - and then on to Mars.

Pence said that in the coming weeks, he and President Trump will assemble a Users' Advisory Group partly composed of leaders from the commercial space industry. And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon, but it will be some time before they land there. Pence also proclaimed that the United States will be the first nation to put humans on Mars - whether that will be via NASA or a private company like SpaceX (or a mixture of both) is yet to be seen.

But few details, such as cost, are being mentioned in the space visions outlined at the first meeting of the revived National Space Council since it was disbanded in 1993.

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Indeed, as Pence put it, "Business is leading the way on space technology, and we intend to draw from the bottomless well of innovation to solve the challenges ahead".

The primacy of these stated goals was reflected in the makeup of the panelists at today's meeting, which was held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Earlier this month, NASA said it was prepared to shift its focus away from Mars, and toward the Moon, whenever the current administration gave the "go" for logistical launch.

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Along with Pence, members of the National Space Council include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Deputy Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios and Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The representatives of these companies discussed how their organizations could best serve NASA in achieving its goals, either by providing rockets and services or by building new space vehicles. Coats, Vice President Mike Pence, other top officials and outside space experts said the United States has to counter and perhaps match potential enemies' ability to target USA satellites. 'But now we start again'. "And, as we learned 60 years ago, when we drift, we fall behind".

"We have proven that USA ventures in space lead to broad societal benefits that lift our national economy", said Hewson. Pence also explained how desperately the US needs technology of its own in space, to protect its surveillance, communication, and navigation systems from hacking attempts.

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