WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Vice President Mike Pence and the movers and shakers from NASAand the Air Force say the U.S. is ready to return to the moon — and Mars.
Pence addressed the sixth meeting of the NationalSpace 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, beforeChina and Russia beat us to it.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire says Americafaces a military challenge in space, saying: “Russia has a similar system indevelopment that will likely be operational in the next few years.”
Maguire says China and Russia have established dedicatedspace forces and the U.S. needs to do the same.
Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan says the plan is inplace — now Congress must take action. He’s calling on Congress to act quicklyto fully fund and authorize the Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. ArmedForces.
“This will provide the necessary legal authority for thespace force to organize, train and equip ready forces for our war fightingcombatant commanders,” said Donovan.
Creating the Space Force was just one of the topics at themeeting of the National Space Council. Standing under the retired spaceshuttle Discovery — now at the Smithsonian Museum in Virginia — VP Pencepromised a moon landing by 2024.
Pence says construction of a lunar lander will begin inearnest next year.