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US wants astronauts back on Moon within five years: Pence

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Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that the United States intends to send astronauts back to the Moon within five years, with a woman first in line to set foot on the lunar surface.

“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,” Pence said in a speech in Huntsville, Alabama.

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“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.

The first manned Moon mission in more than half a century had been scheduled for 2028.

But the program has encountered frustrating delays in the development of a new heavy rocket for the Moon missions, the SLS, whose first flight was recently pushed back to 2021.

In his speech, Pence criticized the “bureaucratic inertia” and “paralysis by analysis” that he said had resulted in the SLS delays, and called for a “new mindset” at the space agency.

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He threatened to use commercial launch systems if NASA is not ready in time.

“If commercial rockets are the only way to get American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years, then commercial rockets it will be,” he said.

“Urgency must be our watchword. 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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NASA’s chief, Jim Bridenstine, recently said a woman would undoubtedly be the first human to set foot on the Moon since 1972, the last time there was a manned mission to the Moon.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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