NASA Provides Coverage for First Meeting of the National Space Council

Saul Bowman
October 6, 2017

After months of hinting, Vice President Mike Pence finally made it clear today that the Trump administration will direct NASA to land humans on the Moon and establish a more permanent presence on the lunar surface.

At its first meeting in a quarter-century Thursday, the recently-resurrected National Space Council met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the USA space agenda's aim to send astronauts "to Mars and beyond".

Pence, recalling his wonder at space watching a black-and-white television in IN and seeing shuttle launches as a member of Congress, vowed a new age of discovery, but he also called American leadership beyond earth as "vital to our national security". To correct this, he said, "President Trump has charged this National Space Council with reviewing America's current policy and our long range goals and coordinating all national space activities from security to commerce to exploration".

His administration announced the moon program would be scrapped in favor of a plan to reach 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.

According to NASA, the council was known as the National Aeronautics and Space Council from 1958 to 1973, and as the National Space Council from 1989 to 1993. 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.

Now he'll have to contend with wrangling unknown sums of money out of Congress for a three-pronged strategy that includes civil space exploration, commercial development of space travel, and national security issues related to orbiting satellites and potential weapons.

"America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars", Pence wrote.

Above all, Pence stressed that the United States would lead in space again under the Trump administration.

The council, dormant for almost a quarter-century until President Donald Trump ordered it reconstituted, is meant to advise the president on policy and strategy for space. "Rather than lead in space, too often we've chosen to drift and, as we learned 60 years ago, when we drift we fall behind". 'But now we start again'.

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.

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