President Donald Trump signed a new space mandate at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon, announcing his administration’s intent to send American astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars.
Space Policy Directive 1 “will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” Trump said during remarks at the ceremony.”
“It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use. This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps, some day, to many worlds beyond,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the National Space Council, also spoke at the signing ceremony, calling the new directive “a momentous occasion in the history of American space exploration.”
Pence said the new directive will “ensure that America will lead in space once again.”
“Establishing a renewed American presence on the moon is vital to achieve our strategic objectives and the objectives outlined by our National Space Council.”
The move comes after recommendations by the National Space Council.
Trump signed an executive order in June re-establishing the National Space Council’s oversight of NASA. The council was first established in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, then disbanded in 1993. Another version of the council, called the National Aeronautics and Space Council, existed between 1958 and 1973.