Pence pledges that U.S. will go to the moon, Mars and beyond

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Trump administration officials are pledging to send Americans back to the moon - and then on to Mars.

Space industry leaders say they and NASA are building the spaceships to get there. And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon - but not quite land there yet.

Here's what Vice President Mike Pence is saying: "We will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundations we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond".

The announcement joins the revival of the National Space Council, a special Trump administration resurrection slated to hold its first meeting in nearly a quarter of a century.

"America is out-innovating the world in space launch", Shotwell said, noting that her company had launched 13 rockets this year, more than any other nation. "That means launching American astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972".

It's a return to the vision of President George W. Bush, which was deferred when President Obama reoriented the space agency toward a journey to Mars.

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The duo - Trump and Pence, that is - will soon choose the individuals comprising a Users" Advisory Group that includes "leaders from America's burgeoning commercial space industry.' Pence has vowed that the administration will promote a variety of educational, regulatory, and technologic reforms for giving USA citizens expanded 'opportunities, ' presumably related to space. Trump re-established the National Space Council in an executive order signed in June.

Earlier this month, NASA said it was prepared to shift its focus away from Mars, and toward the Moon, whenever the current administration gave the "go" for logistical launch.

The meeting, titled "Leading the Next Frontier: An Event with the National Space Council", will be held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. "We can only decide to match and raise our adversaries who are already weaponizing space", former NASA chief Michael Griffin said.

He said the Space Council's mandate is to find a way to maintain 'a constant commercial, human presence in low-Earth orbit'. 'But now we start again'.

"Renew America's commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security".

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