Vice President Pence Wants American Astronauts On The Moon By 2024
Vice President Mike Pence wants American astronauts to return to the moon in five years. He challenged NASA to meet that goal Tuesday at a National Space Council meeting in Huntsville, Alabama.
“It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return humans to the moon the next five years," said Pence.
NASA’s current plan to return humans to the moon uses the SLS rocket, which is primarily being built by contractor Boeing. The program has faced significant delays and ballooning costs, but Pence said the administration isn’t committed to one contractor.
“If commercial rockets are the only way to get american astronauts to the moon in the next five years, then commercial rockets it will be.”
Pence said the council will recommend a “major course correction for NASA” and call on the agency to embrace new policies and a new mindset. He didn’t elaborate on what that course correction will be.
"You have given us a charge today and it is right on time," said NASA administer Jim Bridenstine. "Our agency is going to do everything in its power to meet that vision, to meet that deadline, and you have my full commitment to achieving that."
Bridenstine said he is confident SLS will fly a scheduled uncrewed mission by 2020.
The National Space Council, which helps steer U.S. space policy, was reactivated under President Trump and is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.