Mike Pence: Trump-Led National Space Council Going To 'Mars And Beyond'
06 October, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Kristen Ingram
He made the comments one day after vowing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that "America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars".
For now, it's unknown how this destination shift will affect NASA's long-term plans.
The president, Pence said, has "declared to all the world that America will lead in space once again". "America seems to have lost our edge in space", said Pence, "and those days are over".
President Donald Trump revived the NSC and Pence will oversee the council's first meeting in 25 years when it convenes Thursday. "In the years to come, American industry must be the first to maintain a constant commercial human presence in low-Earth orbit, to expand the sphere of the economy beyond this blue marble". The first, "on the Moon", is fairly obvious.
"We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon - not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond", he said to a crowd of representatives and press at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. "And we will once again astonish the world as we boldly go to meet our future in the skies and in the stars".
Unlike previous government-run efforts at space exploration in the past, Pence said, the new goal will be to "look beyond the halls of government" and partner with private US space exploration companies. 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.
Space industry leaders say they and NASA are building the spaceships to get there.
He cited intelligence community reports that Russian Federation and China are pursuing a full range of anti-satellite technology created to threaten the USA military's effectiveness.
Left unsaid is how NASA will get humans to the Moon and (eventually, probably decades from now) Mars.
"America must be as dominant in space as we are here on earth", Pence said. Trump re-established the National Space Council in an executive order signed in June.
Among the participants in the council meeting Thursday were CEOs Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing and David Thompson of Orbital ATK, who each emphasized the importance of the space program to the nation's well-being.
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