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.
“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.
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.”
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.
How Trump’s limited intellectual development has given him a ‘God complex’
Trump's lack of respect for the country's long-standing democratic norms and institutions also extends to America's alliances, security arrangements with its allies and friends, and the international order more broadly. To that end Trump has threatened to remove the U.S. from NATO, hailed the merits of nationalism (while barely pretending that does not mean white nationalism), tried to surrender U.S. security to Russian President Vladimir Putin and proclaimed on numerous occasions that America will now stand (mostly) alone in the world.
This story first ran at Salon in November of 2018.
Danish media crushes ‘questionable real estate agent’ Trump for his ‘absurd’ snub of their country
President Donald Trump has found himself getting skewered by the Danish media after he abruptly canceled a planned meeting with the Danish prime minister after she refused to sell Greenland to the United States.
Copenhagen-based newspaper Berlingske on Wednesday published several articles and editorials that took Trump to task for snubbing an important European ally because it would not entertain selling him Greenland.
The paper's lead editorial, for example, declared Trump's cancellation "absurd" and said that he was deeply harming his country's relationship with Denmark.
Amid recession warnings, Trump reportedly considering more tax cuts for rich and corporations
"Two of Trump's ideas for stimulating the economy are 1) cutting the corporate tax rate a little more (after cutting it a lot didn't do much), and 2) indexing capital gains to inflation. It's tax cuts for the rich all the way down."
While continuing to publicly downplay warning signs that the U.S. economy is barreling toward a recession, the Trump White House is reportedly weighing a number of supposed stimulus measures, including more tax cuts for the rich and large corporations.