WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Vice President Mike Pence and the movers and shakers from NASA and the Air Force say the U.S. is ready to return to the moon — and Mars.
Pence addressed the sixth meeting of the National Space Council saying that the mission will only be possible if the U.S. establishes a United States Space Force. He’s calling on Congress to stop stalling and start acting, before China and Russia beat us to it.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire says America faces a military challenge in space, saying: “Russia has a similar system in development that will likely be operational in the next few years.”
Maguire says China and Russia have established dedicated space forces and the U.S. needs to do the same.
Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan says the plan is in place — now Congress must take action. He’s calling on Congress to act quickly to fully fund and authorize the Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“This will provide the necessary legal authority for the space force to organize, train and equip ready forces for our war fighting combatant commanders,” said Donovan.
Creating the Space Force was just one of the topics at the meeting of the National Space Council. Standing under the retired space shuttle Discovery — now at the Smithsonian Museum in Virginia — VP Pence promised a moon landing by 2024.
Pence says construction of a lunar lander will begin in earnest next year.