Monday, 22 July, 2019

Mike Pence wants American astronauts on moon in 5 years

To get astronauts back to the moon in five years Pence is willing to bounce Boeing A rendering shows NASA's Space Launch System which was designed to carry a crew to deep space
Sandy Nunez | 27 March, 2019, 11:42

The moon in turn is seen by NASA as a key stepping stone on the way to an eventual manned mission to Mars.

So far, only two other nations have conducted "soft" landings on the moon - the former Soviet Union and China - but those were with unmanned robot vehicles. US astronauts have not walked on the moon since 1972. "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".

"In order to accomplish this, NASA must transform itself into a leaner, more accountable and more agile organisation".

"Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the council, will convene and preside over the meeting, which will include a report out from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine", NASA officials wrote in a media advisory.

"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", he said. "That next giant leap is to return American astronauts to the moon [by 2024]. and to establish a permanent presence on the moon and prepare to put American astronauts on Mars". "Failure to achieve our goal to return an American astronaut to the Moon in the next five years is not an option".

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Earlier this month, Bridenstine testified before a congressional committee that NASA may need to perform the first uncrewed launch of Orion in 2020 using a commercial rocket like a SpaceX Falcon Heavy instead. Boeing the primary contractor for the SLS rocket engines.

"Lockheed Martin fully supports accelerating NASA's goal of landing humans on the surface of the Moon", the aerospace company said in a statement following Pence's announcement, according to Space News.

"NASA is going to do everything in its power to meet that deadline", Bridenstine said. He previously served as Nasa's chief technologist.

The vice president instructed Nasa to aim to land on the moon's south pole, where considerable amounts of ice could be used for drinking and making rocket fuel.