Trump administration turns NASA back toward the Moon

Enlarge  Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Kennedy Space Center earlier this

'Not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundations we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond'.

For now, it's unknown how this destination shift will affect NASA's long-term plans.

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

The Trump administration has re-assembled the National Space Council, which was disbanded in 1993.

The Vice President said the meeting will outline the Trump administration's vision for space enterprise for the first time in over 25 years.

But it could be some time before we know how the Trump administration plans to lead in space again. The first, "on the Moon", is fairly obvious.

In the latest flip-flop of national space priorities, Vice President Mike Pence says Barack Obama's focus on Mars will take a back seat to the moon.

Pence asked if the USA should "weaponize" space.

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"We will renew the American spirit itself and rekindle our belief that America can accomplish anything", Pence, the chairman of the council, said during his speech at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

"The intelligence community reports that Russian Federation and China are pursuing a full range of anti-satellite technology created to threaten our military's effectiveness".

At its first meeting in a quarter-century Thursday, the recently-resurrected National Space Council met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the US space agenda's aim to send astronauts "to Mars and beyond". And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon.

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

Earlier this month, NASA said it was prepared to shift its focus away from Mars, and toward the Moon, whenever the current administration gave the "go" for logistical launch.

He said the Space Council's mandate is to find a way to maintain 'a constant commercial, human presence in low-Earth orbit'.

Now he'll have to contend with wrangling unknown sums of money out of Congress for a three-pronged strategy that includes civil space exploration, commercial development of space travel, and national security issues related to orbiting satellites and potential weapons.

After talking about how "we will blaze new trails into that great frontier" Pence turned the discussion to the dangers of space and how much of the USA intelligence system and day-to-day life are dependent on commercial satellites operating safely.

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