WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials are pledging to send Americans back to the moon — and then on to Mars.
At the first meeting of the newly revived National Space Council, Vice President Pence stated the country’s dedication to once again being the leader in space.
“We will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundations we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” he said to massive applause.
“Space is vital to our national security. I saw firsthand when I visited Schriever Air Force Base in the Redstone Arsenal earlier this year. And as I said our adversaries are aggressively developing jamming, hacking and other technologies intended to cripple military surveillance navigation communications systems. In the face of these actions America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth,” he added.
Space industry leaders said they and NASA are building the spaceships to get there. 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.
Few details, such as cost, were mentioned at the meeting.
The National Space Council, which was disbanded in 1993, was reestablished after President Trump signed an executive order in June 2017.
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.
“As such, the council has guided NASA from our earliest days and can help us achieve the many ambitious milestones we are striving for today.”
The group “ensure[s] that all aspects of the nation’s space power — national security, commerce, international relations, exploration, and science, are coordinated and aligned to best serve the American people.”
Members of the National Space Council:
Mike Pence, U.S Vice President;
Rex Tillerson, secretary of state;
James Mattis; secretary of defense;
Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce;
Elaine Chao, secretary of transportation;
Elaine Duke, acting secretary of homeland security;
Mick Mulvaney, director, Office of Management and Budget;
H.R. McMaster, national security advisor;
Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence;
Robert Lightfoot, acting NASA administrator;
Michael Kratsios, deputy chief technology officer of the United States;
Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff