Mike Pence Wants to Land US Astronauts on Moon in 5 Years

National Space Council meeting

Tweeting after the National Space Council meeting, Mr Bridenstine said: "Challenge accepted".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking on behalf of the Trump administration, announced on Tuesday an accelerated goal of putting Americans back on the moon within five years "by any means necessary", a challenge accepted by NASA's top official.

"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. "Failure to achieve our goal to return an American astronaut to the Moon in the next five years is not an option".

Pence's announcement comes after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced it had to scrap its first all-female spacewalk because it didn't have well-fitting space suits for its female astronauts.

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Now, the earliest possible landing on the moon by Nasa isn't until 2028, Pence said. "We're also racing against our worst enemy ― complacency". Two weeks ago, he said Nasa was considering using private rockets instead to launch its new Orion capsule around the moon without a crew on a test flight next year.

Lockheed Martin, one of the main contractors working with NASA to get humans back on the moon, said they were similarly optimistic.

NASA has already set its sights on the moon's south pole, a region believed to hold enough recoverable ice water for us in synthesising additional rocket fuel. "With the right level of commitment, urgency and resources, humans could walk on the surface by 2024". "Americans lead, and so we will". "Bold plans must be matched by bold resources made available in a consistent manner in order to assure successful execution". It was unacceptable, Pence said, that SLS delays and cost overruns point to a 2028 target date - almost two decades after the SLS program began. But NASA officials later clarified a moon landing within five years was, indeed, the stated objective. "Those didn't go anywhere and collapsed of their own significant financial weight", he noted in an email.

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