Space Policy Directive 1: NASA Told To Return To The Moon

Space Policy Directive 1: NASA Told To Return To The Moon”

"Forty-five years ago today, NASA's final Apollo mission landed on the surface of the moon".

Trump signed the space policy on Monday, which also marked the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission, which was the last time humans walked on the moon. "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 someday to many worlds beyond".

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up "Space Policy Directive 1" after signing it during a ceremony with NASA astronauts (R-L) Peggy Whitson, Buzz Aldrin and Jack Schmitt in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"This is a giant step toward that inspiring future and toward reclaiming America's proud destiny in space", Trump said on Monday at a White House ceremony, where he signed the new Nasa directive. SpaceX and Boeing both have billion-dollar contracts to send American astronauts to the space station, with the first key tests of the technology slated for 2018. However, Space Policy Directive 1 is now only an empty order without the funds to back it up.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement that the new policy reflects recommendations from the National Space Council, a White House advisory panel Trump appointed earlier in the year.

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"You are ensuring Mr. President, that America will lead in space in the future and for generations to come", he added.

With this directive, Mr Trump abandons plans set by his predecessor Barack Obama, to send humans to an asteroid near earth.

Acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said the space agency is looking forward to supporting the President's directive, "strategically aligning our work to return humans to the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond".

SpaceX launches rockets for customers including NASA, commercial satellite operators and the USA military.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the newly revitalized National Space Council, have previously vowed to explore the Moon again, but offered few details.

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