FL – In a rousing speech at the Johnson
Space Center (JSC) in Texas, Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence called on NASA
to establish a permanent presence at the moon and place a crew at humanity’s
first ever lunar orbiting outpost by 2024 followed eventually by manned missions to Mars.
“This time has come, we really believe, for
the United States of America to take what we have learned over these so many
decades, put your ingenuity and creativity to work, and establish a permanent
presence around and on the moon,” said VP Mike Pence, during an Aug. 23 speech today at
leads the recently reconstituted National Space Council, and clearly has an
interest in space. Although his speech was short on specifics and funding announcements,
the overall thrust was very positive for the space community after a long
period of lack of funding and enthusiasm, sometimes seeming indifference by several
recent US Presidents.
Pence made his remarks Thursday, Aug. 23, to at a packed auditorium full of JSC workers,
astronauts as well as NASA and government officials.
He said that NASA SLS heavy lift rocket and Orion crew capsule
would be fully funded.
Artists concept of NASA’s Lunar Gateway visited by Orion
crew vehicle. Credit: NASA
a major course change from the Obama Administration, the Trump Administration
has redirected NASA to focus its human spaceflight efforts on returning Americas
to the Moon in the next decade as the top priority as soon as possible.
became US national space policy when President Trump signed Space Policy
also renewing our national commitment to discovery and to exploration, and to
write the next great chapter of our nation’s journey into space. That’s
why, last December — 45 years almost to the minute since Jack Schmitt and Gene
Cernan landed on the moon — President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1.”
is now the official policy of the United States of America that we will return
to the moon, put Americans on Mars, and once again explore the farthest depths
of outer space,” Pence stated.
going to do it. We’re going to do it.”
asked space agency workers to rededicate themselves to the task of making “NASA awe the world with our daring heroes, with our
discoveries, and with our relentless determination to bring new horizons and
new vistas within the reach of mankind.”
Specifically he mentioned NASA proposed lunar space station
called the Lunar Orbital Platform- Gateway.
Pence said the a crew should be launched by 2024 and that $500
million in funding was provided by the Administration to get the ‘Gateway’ hardware
off the drawing board, built by American industry and onto a rocket.
only a few short years away from launching the gateway’s first building blocks
into space, turning science fiction into science fact. And our
administration is working tirelessly to put an American crew aboard the Lunar
Orbital Platform before the end of 2024,” Pence elaborated.
and women of the Johnson Space Center: It’s not a question of if; it’s just a
question of when”
“Last year, NASA began to work with
American innovators to design Gateway’s unique electrical propulsion system.
We’re working with the Congress to provide an unprecedented $500 million to
move the Lunar Orbital Platform from proposal to production,” he said.
we’re on the cusp of a new golden age of exploration. I believe it with
all my heart. And we’ve got the courageous astronauts that are ready to
lead us there again.”
NASA continues to push back the borders of this still-new frontier, we will
empower America’s private pioneers as well to cultivate the vast expanses that
we’ve already explored. We’ll ensure that American security in space is
attended to as well.”
said its time to look up and criticized the Obama Administration cancellation of
the Constellation Program started by the Bush Administration which would have sent
American’s back to the Moon by 2020.
cited a quote from the movie Interstellar.
“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars.
Now, we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
“That’s not how Americans
think,” Pence said. “Truthfully, that kind of thinking led people in the past
to even cancel the Constellation program. That would have put Americans back on
the moon by 2020 and set the stage for exploration of Mars and beyond. That
decision was a mistake.”
Pence also praised the
work of the International Space Station.
He also praised
NASA commercial crew efforts by SpaceX and Bosing to restore the US capability
to launch Americans to space once again from US soli after a long hiatus since
the shuttle retirement in 2011.
Launch Complex 39A which will be a bridge for crews to board the Crew Dragon
capsule for mission to the ISS stating in 2019 – see my articles and photos.
workers to redouble their efforts with the support of the American people.
what Americans have always done, let’s seize it with ingenuity and courage,
let’s seize it with faith. You can be confident the American people have faith
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com