The Commercial Spaceflight Federation – a member organization for human spaceflight companies – released this statement from its president, Eric Stallmer: “CSF applauds President Trump for signing Space Policy Directive 1, which directs NASA to partner with the USA commercial space industry to return Americans to the Moon“.
“It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use”, Mr. Trump said during a brief ceremony at the White House, where he signed what the White House called Space Policy Directive 1.
Almost half a century after the last human being set foot on the lunar surface in 1972, Mr Trump said the moon would be used as a stepping stone to a Mars landing.
Trump’s signing ceremony for the directive included former lunar astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt and current astronaut Peggy Whitson, whose 665 days in orbit is more time in space than any other American and any other woman worldwide.
In a brief White House ceremony Monday, President Trump formally directed NASA to set its sights on sending astronauts back to the moon followed by eventual flights to Mars as part of a new national space policy meant to make sure America “once again leads and inspires all of humanity” on the high frontier.
Trump said that this policy announcement was made nearly 45 years to the minute that Schmitt was one of the last Americans to land on the Moon.
In 2010, President Obama said he wanted NASA to be orbiting Mars by the 2030s, and to send humans to an asteroid by 2025, with crews charting destinations “beyond the moon”.
“We will return American astronauts to the Moon”, Pence said at the time, “not only to leave behind footprints and flags but [also] to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond”.
Under the directive, the government is also expected to work closely with other nations and private industry. “Going back to the moon as the precursor to further exploration will enable NASA to test new systems and equipment critical for future missions, like the human exploration of Mars”.
Trump speaks before signing Space Policy Directive 1, which directs NASA to focus on sending astronauts back to the Moon.
Both the president and the vice president said today that NASA’s focus on its human spaceflight program will help create jobs for the country, and both men briefly mentioned the defense and military applications of the space program.
“We will also spur innovation”, Pence said. Our workforce is committed to this effort, and even now, we are developing a flexible deep-space infrastructure to support a steady cadence of increasingly complex missions that strengthens American leadership in the boundless frontier of space.