Pence points NASA back to moon landing - forget Mars for now

06 October, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • EnlargeNASA

It will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and include participation by acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, as well as a number of Trump Administration cabinet members and senior officials, and aerospace industry leaders.

Orbital ATK's Thompson said the USA should be able to put astronauts on the moon within five years through such vehicles.

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. "In the face of these actions America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth", he added.

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The United States hasn't sent an American astronaut beyond low-Earth orbit in 45 years, he said. Perhaps Pence will elaborate on this issue during the first space council meeting, which begins at 10am ET Thursday.

He called the moon a "stepping stone" and "training ground" to help refocus the program on "human" space exploration.

The group "ensure [s] that all aspects of the nation's space power - national security, commerce, worldwide relations, exploration, and science, are coordinated and aligned to best serve the American people". Blue Origin rocket company chief executive officer Bob Smith said his firm could have a lunar lander program ready within five years. 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. "We can only decide to match and raise our adversaries who are already weaponizing space", former NASA chief Michael Griffin said.

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Now, Pence says, is the time to recognize that 'in the absence of American leadership, other nations have seized the opportunity to stake their claim in the infinite frontier'.

Past presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and to a lesser extent Barack Obama have proposed spectacular missions to the moon or Mars or both, only to have funding trouble keep them from coming true, said space expert Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation.

'We started [it], but we never completed. "And we will once again astonish the world as we boldly go to meet our future in the skies and in the stars".

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Now, the USA pays Russian Federation $76 million in rocket-fare each time an American needs to reach the International Space Station.

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