Pence Says U.S. Heading Back To The Moon

Katie Ramirez
March 30, 2019

Speaking to the National Space Council at a meeting in Huntsville, Alabama, Vice President Mike Pence set the administration's moon-shot deadline.

"Just as the USA was the first nation to reach the moon in the 20th century, so too will we be the first nation to return astronauts to the moon in the 21st century", Pence said at a meeting of the National Space Council in Alabama. He also announced the goal of establishing a constant United States presence on the Moon as a basis for future NASA missions to Mars.

Pence said that the first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American, and that they will land at the lunar South Pole which has "great scientific, economic, and strategic value".

Americans will return to the Moon for long-term exploration, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

Ultimately, it's up to Congress to appropriate NASA's funding, which in turn directs the agency and its long-term goals, but the moon-shot is on the top of Pence's priority list.

Mr Bridenstine had been considering moving forward with a less powerful commercial rocket, perhaps a vehicle built by SpaceX or the Boeing-Lockheed Martin partnership United Launch Alliance, to get an uncrewed capsule into space by 2020.

The schedule is four years ahead of NASA's current plan of sending crew to the surface of the moon by 2028.

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"Challenge accepted. Now let's get to work", he wrote on Twitter.

Pence threatened to use commercial launch systems or to look to other partners if NASA is not ready in time.

Following several trips to the Moon, the Apollo program ended, and for decades humanity went back to looking at the satellite as it did for millennia, from Earth.

McDaniel has faith in NASA to be able to complete this mission on time.

- The NASA Administrator will provide an update on the implementation of Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) and the recommendations at the next Space Council meeting.

When SLS eventually launches, it will be from the Kennedy Space Center.

Planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute said 2024 is feasible provided the accelerated effort is funded properly and commercial space systems are fully embraced. All Points, a resident of the research park for 10 years, has added 12,000 square feet to include additional executive offices to accommodate support staff to better serve All Point's Redstone Arsenal and NASA customers.

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