Mike Pence promises renewed American leadership in space, the moon

Mike Pence promises renewed American leadership in space, the moon

Mike Pence promises renewed American leadership in space, the moon

Since then, Pence said, "our government's commitment" has not matched the level of excitement for space that exists among the general public.

The council, created to unify oversight for several federal space agencies, has lain dormant since 1993. "It will restore our confidence and our confidence that we can and will achieve the impossible".

But Pence stopped there, offering nearly no specifics on any Trump administration space policies, plans or ambitions, other than to lead in space, return to the moon, go to Mars, invest in space defense, and tap into the America's commercial space industry for advancements of technology, space services, and innovation.

Trump tasked the vice president with leading the re-launched National Space Council. We will maintain a constant presence in low-Earth orbit, and we'll develop policies that will carry human space exploration across our solar system and ultimately into the vast expanses. "Under President Donald Trump, America will lead in space once again", he said, one of several such statements in his speech. Despite Pence's promises, though, the president has yet to name an administrator for NASA and his budget calls for slashing the agency's funds for programs that are more Earth-centric. NASA's current acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, who took over temporarily when Trump was inaugurated, has now served longer than that. The backdrop to his speech included a flown SpaceX Dragon capsule and a mockup of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, as well as the Orion capsule that flew on a brief December 2014 test flight. And the Vice President, myself, and a few others are going to pick some private people to be on the board.

"Depending on the details, this backwards speech could signal a backwards space policy, meaning rolling back the progress that's being made instead of building on the commercial space policies that Reagan started and Obama continued", says Larson. Logsdon credited the council with playing a key role in Kennedy's decision to send astronauts to the moon in what became the Apollo program. President Richard Nixon ultimately did away with the council in 1973.

And propelling people to Mars by the 2030s was a key feature of United States space policy under the previous administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

The National Space Council, Logsdon said, has a "mixed record, and it totally depends on how the president relates to the vice president and how the vice president chooses to use his limited influence, whether he makes this an area of priority for him, which Humphrey and Agnew did not, Bush-Quayle did".

Pence was vague today about direction.

In March, Trump signed a bill authorizing funding for NASA's space operations, aeronautics, technology and education programs for 2017.

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