Monday, 11 December, 2017

Pence: America must be 'dominant in space'

It's official: Trump administration turns NASA back toward the Moon 'American leadership in space will be assured,' VP Mike Pence says at National Space Council
Delores Daniels | 06 October, 2017, 00:43

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

"And from the foundation of the moon, America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars", Pence wrote.

It was the first meeting of the National Space Council, revived after it was disbanded in 1993.

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 United States hasn't sent an American astronaut beyond low-Earth orbit in 45 years, he said.

We will refocus America's space program toward human exploration and discovery.

The council will hear testimonial from expert witnesses who represent the sectors of the space industry: Civil Space, Commercial Space, and National Security Space.

David Thompson, president of the space company Orbital ATK, said NASA's Orion capsule and super-sized Space Launch System rocket should be ready in a couple years, so flying around the moon and even making a lunar orbiting outpost is within reach. The meeting was filled with presentations from various space industry leaders - including those from SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.

Under the previous administration, that stepping stone was much smaller: President Barack Obama had directed NASA to prep for Mars trips by visiting a near-Earth asteroid.

Pence served on the NASA subcommittee during his days in the House of Representatives, and has spoken often about watching rocket launches on TV as a child. "We may not start it but we will finish it".

"The U.S. pays Russian Federation more than $76 million a seat to carry American astronauts to the International Space Station, since we have no vehicle capable of performing this task", Pence wrote. We stopped, ' he said.

"The current plan is to use these vehicles to build a space station in the vicinity of the Moon, known as the Deep Space Gateway, where astronauts can train and then depart for missions to Mars", the site said. "And we will once again astonish the world as we boldly go to meet our future in the skies and in the stars". "And, as we learned 60 years ago, when we drift, we fall behind". The third panel focused on national security and featured retired Navy Adm. James Ellis, the former chief of U.S. Strategic Command; former NASA astronaut and former DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Deputy Director Pamela Melroy; and former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

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