Vice President Mike Pence brought word from President Donald Trump Tuesday that the U.S. will put an American back on the Moon within five years.
Pence revealed at the fifth meeting of the National Space Council:
I’m here, on the president’s behalf, to tell the men and women of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the American people that, at the direction of the president of the United States, it is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the Moon within the next five years.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, served as the venue for the meeting and remarks from the vice president. Listeners applauded at the news an American would return to the Moon within five years.
“Let me be clear: The first woman and the next man on the Moon will both be American astronauts, launched by American rockets, from American soil,” Pence clarified to more applause from the audience.
“To accomplish this, we must redouble our efforts here in Huntsville and throughout this program,” said Pence. “We must accelerate the SLS program to meet this objective. But know this: The president has directed NASA and Administrator Jim Bridenstine to accomplish this goal by any means necessary.”
He reminded listeners that the rockets that powered Apollo 11 carrying the first men to the Moon were developed at the Huntsville facility.
“Fifty years ago, ‘one small step for man’ became ‘one giant leap for mankind,’” said Pence, adding, “But now it’s come the time for us to make the next ‘giant leap’ and return American astronauts to the Moon, establish a permanent base there, and develop the technologies to take American astronauts to Mars and beyond.” The crowd applauded as the vice president continued to more applause, “That’s the next ‘giant leap.’”
The vice president explained progress on the way toward putting bases on the Moon, “Last year, NASA and American innovators began designing the precursor to outposts on the Moon and the mission to Mars, the Lunar Gateway.” He informed the group of partnerships in this endeavor, “And we are rallying the world to join us in this vital work. This month, Canada became our first international partner and announced a 24-year commitment to cooperate on the Lunar Gateway.”