Visiting the the Johnson Space Center on August 23, 2018, US Vice President Mike Pence discussed the future of the American Space program in regard to space exploration and related subjects. After praising the current administration for its support of NASA, roaring applause greeted the Vice President as NASA Administrator as Jim Bridenstine brought him on stage.
VP Pence delivered an epic speech, outlining some milestones and objectives that NASA and the United States aim to achieve. He began by praising US President Donald Trump’s leadership, citing his vision and decisive action for the advancement of America’s Space ambitions. He followed up by thanking Administrator Bridenstine as well, for his service to the United States and his distinguished position of leadership in what he calls “the dawn of a renewed age of human space exploration.”
He remarked on how the 2019 budget for NASA is the largest since the era of the Apollo Program (Over $20 Billion), allowing proposed missions to come to fruition, contrasting the previous few decades where America’s ambitions were not met with the proper funding. He then mentioned Space Policy Directive 1, issued on December 11, 2017, nearly 45 years after the Apollo 17 mission, which sets some explicit goals for the nation that plans on leading the planet into our solar system. To paraphrase, it is now the Official Policy of USA to:
- Return to the Moon and leave a permanent presence by end of 2024 (originally 2020, until Cancellation of Constellation program)
- Using the Moon as a staging ground to put Americans On Mars
- Explore the Farthest Depths of Outer Space
Unlike past administrations, America currently possesses the vision and budget to match its space ambitions.
Now, fully funded NASA Endeavors include:
- Deep Space Human Exploration
- America’s Rocket, the Space Launch System (Largest most powerful rocket ever, 11.9 mill pounds of thrust, 7 miles per second, launching astronauts into space oboard the Orion Capsule)
- Orion Space Capsule
It currently costs $82 million per seat to pay Russia to launch Americans into space, though a future with American astronauts launching into space on American rockets launched from American soil is upon us. And as far as security in Space goes, the Space Force will be up and running by 2020 with the determination to protect American assets in orbit as it is done on Earth.
What a fascinating time. We are at the cusp of Golden Age of space exploration, but I believe VP Pence says it best:
“However deep into the Cosmos we may reach, our destiny, Mankind’s destiny, is not only here on Earth it is in the heavens as well.”
Hold on to your space belts ladies and gentlemen.