Trump administration turns NASA back toward the Moon

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The first meeting of the National Space Council started Thursday with a speech from Council Chairman and Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

The duo - Trump and Pence, that is - will soon choose the individuals comprising a Users" Advisory Group that includes "leaders from America's burgeoning commercial space industry.' Pence has vowed that the administration will promote a variety of educational, regulatory, and technologic reforms for giving U.S. citizens expanded 'opportunities, ' presumably related to space.

As evidence of this drift, Pence cited the fact that NASA astronauts haven't gone beyond low-Earth orbit since the final Apollo moon mission, in 1972. It means establishing a renewed American presence on the Moon, a vital strategic goal. "We will return Americans to the moon ... and build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond". In recent years NASA has talked about sending humans to a space station near the Moon but not landing astronauts there. In addition, he noted, the country has had to pay Russian Federation to ferry USA astronauts to the International Space Station since the space shuttle retired in 2011.

He called the moon a "stepping stone" and "training ground" to help refocus the program on "human" space exploration.

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Space industry leaders said they and NASA are building the spaceships to get there.

"Renew America's commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security".

Five months later, he reinstituted the space council with an executive order signing ceremony.

Former President George W. Bush launched an ambitious plan to travel to the moon and Mars a decade ago, but President Barack Obama ultimately scrapped the plans over cost concerns.

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Pence explained that America "seems to have lost our edge in space".

"We have resolved, with the leadership of President Donald Trump, to never again let America fall behind in the race for space", Pence said, adding that government will partner with the private sector to make advances in space technology.

The president, Pence said, has "declared to all the world that America will lead in space once again".

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