US Vice President Pence reaffirmed the Trump administration’s goal to return American astronauts to the moon at the fifth meeting of the National Space Council, during which the Vice President spoke on NASA’s progress on key elements to accomplish the ambitious Space Policy Directives identified by US President Donald Trump.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “Among the many topics discussed during our meeting at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was to accelerate NASA’s return to the moon, including:
- NASA is charged to get American astronauts to the moon in the next five years;
- NASA has been tasked with landing on the moon’s south pole by 2024;
- stay on schedule for flying Exploration Mission-1 with Orion on the Space Launch System rocket next year, and for sending the first crewed mission to the lunar vicinity by 2022; and
- NASA will continue to “use all means necessary” to ensure mission success in moving us forward to the moon.”
“It is the right time for this challenge, and I assured the Vice President that we, the people of NASA, are up to the challenge. We will take action in the days and weeks ahead to accomplish these goals. We have laid out a clear plan for NASA’s exploration campaign that cuts across three strategic areas: low-Earth orbit, the moon, and Mars and deeper into space,” Bridenstine said.
This renewed focus comes following the one-year anniversary of Space Policy Directive-1 in November 2018, which provided a directive for NASA to return humans to the surface of the moon for long-term exploration and utilisation, and pursue human exploration of Mars and the broader solar system.
“I know NASA is ready for the challenge of moving forward to the moon, this time, to stay,” Bridenstine added.
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