“NASA should use any necessary means to place Americans on the moon in the next five years”, US Vice President Mike Pence said here on Tuesday.
Pence, who is also the Chairman of National Space Council expressed his remarks in the agency’s fifth meeting in Alabama. He said that our country is running a space race against our rivals like Russia and China.
Pence further added, “The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts launched by American rockets from American soil.”
He also told that US President Donald Trump also agrees with this aim. In the year 2017, president Trump made public ‘Space Policy Directive 1’, which commanded NASA to send American astronauts on the moon which would be for the first time after 1972. He added that American astronauts will walk on the surface of the south pole of the moon, which is believed to be a host of ice reservoirs.
Pence said that NASA requires a new focus and urgency to meet this challenge. The agency must speed up the launch of its long delayed rocket to the moon- Space Launch System. In 2012, NASA gave the contract to Boeing to manufacture the rocket’s core components. This rocket was to supposed to be complete by December 2017 but the schedule was turned down. Previously, NASA’s aim was to put American astronauts on the moon’s surface by 2028, which according to Pence is not good enough. “We’re better than that,” Pence said. To this, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told that NASA will do everything possible to meet the given deadline.
Pence didn’t miss the chance and took a dig at Boeing’s slow progress to build the core parts of the rocket. He said, “But to be clear, we’re not committed to any one contractor. If current contractors can’t meet this objective then we’ll find ones who will.”
Mike Pence encouraged American space agency NASA to work with other commercial space organizations if they cost less and assure faster delivery. “If using commercial rockets is the only way to put American astronauts to the lunar surface in the next five years, then we will definitely use them,” Pence said.
The first person to react on this piece of news is Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. He took to Twitter and wrote that it would be really ‘inspiring’ to see American people returning on the moon.
Speeding up this operation would be slightly costly where new funding would need the approval of the American Congress. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will probably answer other questions about this mission from lawmakers on Wednesday where he will also testify about NASA’s fiscal 2020 budget plan.