Following a recent bill passed in the Senate to fund space exploration, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at NASA’s research center in Silicon Valley, emphasizing the president’s intention to accelerate the return of American astronauts on the moon.
The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday passed the NASA Authorization Act of 2019, providing a further $22.8 billion in funding for the agency for the 2020 fiscal year.
The bill aims to ensure Americans’ safety to the moon and lengthen the International Space Station’s existence to 2030.
Touring the NASA Ames Research in Mountain View on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence highlighted President Trump’s commitment to securing American leadership in space, which is why he made it a national policy to prioritize missions on the lunar surface.
“I was proud to be a part when President Trump announced that it’s the policy of this administration to return to the moon within the next five years. And we will ensure that the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts,” Pence said.
Earlier this year, President Trump requested $1.6 billion to accelerate the goal to return to the moon by 2024, following the last Apollo lunar landing of 1972.
In March 2017, the president signed a NASA Transition Authorization that promised $19.1 billion to fund the roadmap for the nation’s future in space.
During his tour, Pence examined the latest Artemis program, which aims to take people to explore the moon again.
He praised NASA for its continuous efforts to make history. He listed examples from space exploration to cutting edge computing, R&D on spacecraft, and modern aviation.
The next stop for exploration after the moon is Mars.
Cosponsors of the bill hope to get it recognized in the House and passed to the president for signing.
with reporting by Ilene Eng, NTD News, California