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.
‘It’s all up to Republicans’: Columnist wonders when the GOP will stand up to Trump
President Donald Trump's burgeoning scandal with Ukraine has one columnist wondering when Republicans will put country before party.
"I was going to write today about how House Democrats are handling the impeachment question. But the truth is, it’s largely irrelevant. As long as Republicans are united in opposition, President Donald Trump will stay in office," Bloomberg Opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein wrote. "That’s not to say that there aren’t bad and worse choices for Democrats, but they’re not the ones who have the real decision to make."
Kellyanne Conway’s husband scorches Democrats for not impeaching Trump in blistering WaPo op-ed
President Donald Trump has been "emboldened" by congressional inaction, according to a powerful new op-ed published Friday evening by The Washington Post.
The bipartisan appeal was written by prominent Republican attorney George Conway, who is the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Neal Katyal, who served as the acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.
CNN analyst has a question for Dems: ‘How low will Trump have to go for you to impeach him?’
Following a day of bombshell reports on the rapidly-growing scandal involving President Donald Trump and Ukraine, a CNN analyst wondered it will take for House Democrats to impeach the commander-in-chief.
Earlier on Friday, in an interview with NPR, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she was still not in favor of impeaching Trump.
CNN analyst and New York Times contributing op-ed writer Wajahat Ali wondered what -- if anything -- could result in Speaker Pelosi backing impeachment.