Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence asked NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to accelerate lunar exploration plans during a National Space Council meeting held at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Pence calls for targeting a human landing on the Moon in 2024, the council also discussed creating a new Moon to Mars Mission Directorate.
NASA had recently floated a plan to land Americans near the Moon’s south pole in 2028.
Pence had the following announcements:
- VP Pence made it clear that the US is not committed to any one contractor. Pence said “If our current contractors can’t meet this objective [getting manned missions to the moon by 2024] then we’ll find ones that will [meet the mission objectives]. The objective will not change but the agency and the contractors will be changed.
- Private work has begun on the Lunar Gateway and precursors to new moon base
- Canada has signed up for a 24-year partnership on the Lunar Gateway
- four-star Air Force General John Raymond will lead the US Space Command part of the unified Space Force
- They signed the largest NASA budget (not inflation adjusted)
- The SLS and Orion was fully funded again.
National Space Council members talked about needing less bureaucracy and NASA and Congress need to have greater tolerance for risk.
VP Pence declared we will be land astronauts at the lunar South Pole within the next 5 years by "any means necessary" and if NASA cannot do it, "it is NASA, not the mission, that must change" https://t.co/hMqxXgSfKx— Steve Jurvetson (@FutureJurvetson) March 27, 2019
SOURCES – Direct quotes and citation from Video recording of statements by VP Pence at the Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council.
Written by Brian Wang