President Donald Trump has signed a directive for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to join the brewing space race once again.
Trump has directed acting NASA administrator Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. to “lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars,” and “perhaps someday to many worlds beyond.” The directive “will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” and “marks an important step” in America’s return to our lunar satellite.
“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint” but establish a plan for “long term exploration and use.” This decision comes after recommendations from the National Space Council, according to Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.
On Monday, Gidley asserted that the president’s directive “will change our nation’s human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology.”
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that “under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars” and that NASA would be freed to “refocus on space exploration.” Vice President Mike Pence echoed these sentiments, calling the moon “a stepping-stone, a training ground, a venue to strengthen our commercial and international partnerships as we refocus America’s space program toward human space exploration.”