Nasa urged to put U.S. astronauts on the moon within five years

Pence speaks at National Space Council meeting in Huntsville

NASA now aims to return astronauts to the moon within 5 years

Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday the U.S.is going to send astronauts back to the moon's surface in 2024, four year earlier than NASA had been planning.

Pence, who has championed President Trump's Space Force, made the announcement Tuesday morning at a National Space Council meeting in Alabama.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first human landing on the Moon.

The U.S.is increasingly acting along the lines of "great power competition" as it seeks to counter a rising China and a resurgent Russian Federation.

"The moon is a truly outstanding target, both for science and for getting our exploration legs back before we set out to further destinations like Mars", Stern wrote in an email.

US Vice President Mike Pence has called for a mission to send US astronauts to the Moon within the next five years.

"Urgency must be our watchword". The advisory group held its fifth meeting at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, right next door to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where the Saturn V moon rockets were developed decades ago and where the Boeing-built SLS is now managed.

The drive to reach the moon reflects President Donald Trump's desire to champion a bold new national objective as he mounts a re-election bid, while also seeking to counter the potential space weaponry capabilities of Russian Federation and China. By way of but one example, we designed and engineered the Apollo V rocket that took American astronauts to the moon. Pence blamed "bureaucratic inertia" for delays to the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule now in development and said he was challenging everybody involved in America's space program to "think bigger, fail smarter, and work harder than ever before".

David Parker, director of human and robotic exploration at European Space Agency, showed a NASA chart from last month showing how SLS and other rockets could enable a human lunar landing in 2028. More recently, former president Barack Obama targeted Mars as astronauts' next big destination, while his successor at the White House, Donald Trump, has favoured the moon. The results of this two-week study reaffirmed our commitment to the SLS.

No astronauts have stepped foot on the moon since December 1972. He said only that the Administration will work with Congress to get the necessary resources. "Organizational inefficiencies that plague our space military authorities, warfighting capabilities, acquisition programs and personnel policies stifle our ability to meet the rapidly evolving threats in space". But NASA officials later clarified that a moon landing within five years was, indeed, the stated objective. The future of space exploration, however, is at a standstill.

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