On March 26, 2019, the National Space Council convened for its 5th assembly to discuss the future of the American Space Program. Speaking on behalf of the White House, Vice President Mike Pence announced that American astronauts will return to the Moon within the next five years.

In 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the National Space Council, a component of a great and ambitious vision for American dominance in space, underscored by several White House Policy Directives to serve as key milestones for our nation and civilization’s journey into the stars.

Space Directive 1 calls for NASA to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the Solar System and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.” The directive points to missions in low-Earth orbit as the beginning phase of this bold plan, culminating to the return of humans to the Moon for long term exploration and utilization, to create the foundations for humanity’s next logical destination: Mars.

The National Space Council presents a monumental challenge; accelerating this bold endeavor involves ensuring that the development of the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System remains on schedule for launches next year, while preparing to send a crewed mission to the Moon’s vicinity by 2022.

Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signs Space Policy Directive 1, a change in national space policy that provides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with private sector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond. Standing beside him include representatives of Congress and the National Space Council, joined to the right by astronauts Jack Schmitt and Peggy Whitson.
Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

NASA has established a new mission directorate to develop and execute this operation: the Moon to Mars Mission Directorate. Though many obstacles and challenges face the women and men behind these historic projects, excitement at NASA has never been greater. The Moon for Exploration Mission 1 aims to ignite the fire that launches the United States of America back into the stars. Administrator Jim Bridenstine assures that NASA’s workforce is up to the task, to produce the greatest, creative and advanced design to complete SLS while guaranteeing reliability and utmost safety, staying true to the promise made to the American People: NASA will transport American astronauts to the Lunar surface within the next five years, landing on the Moon’s South Pole by 2024, and this time to stay.