NASA Provides Coverage for First Meeting of the National Space Council

Vice President Mike Pence waves from Air Force Two

We will refocus America's space program toward human exploration and discovery.

He made the comments one day after vowing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that "America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars".

"The President has charged us with laying the foundation for American to maintain a constant commercial human presence in low-Earth orbit". Coats, Vice President Mike Pence, other top officials and outside space experts said the United States has to counter and perhaps match potential enemies' ability to target USA satellites.

'Rather than lead in space, too often, we have chosen to drift.

"American leadership in space will be assured", Pence said at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

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Pence made the administration's intentions known in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as well as a speech he gave during the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council - a newly resurrected executive group aimed at guiding the USA space agenda.

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.

"America must lead in space once again".

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

Speaking on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said that it is the administration's goal to eventually return American astronauts to the moon to create a moon base of sorts that would facilitate trips to Mars.

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Among the signatories of the statement were Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, the first and last men to walk on the moon, and Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell.

Within the next few weeks, the administration will form a Users' Advisory Group comprised of various leaders in the commercial space industry.

White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the country needs to "deter and when necessary defeat adversaries' counter-space efforts..." And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon - but not quite land there yet.

The group "ensure [s] that all aspects of the nation's space power - national security, commerce, worldwide relations, exploration, and science, are coordinated and aligned to best serve the American people".

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.

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According to NASA, the council was known as the National Aeronautics and Space Council from 1958 to 1973, and as the National Space Council from 1989 to 1993.

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