Colorado SpringsMilitaryNews

Trump wants a man on the moon again, Pence tells space summit in Colorado Springs

Author: Tom Roeder, The Gazette - April 16, 2018 - Updated: April 17, 2018

Vice President Michael Pence gives opening remarks in the International Center at the 34th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel on April 16. (Nadav Soroker, The Gazette)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Vice President Mike Pence told a Colorado Springs crowd that America will reach new heights in space under the Trump administration, including a pledge for manned missions to the moon and Mars.

Pence’s Monday speech kicked off the 34th Space Symposium at The Broadmoor, where more than 14,000 people are expected to gather over four days of talks on all things in orbit and beyond. A special focus this year will fall to the military’s handling of satellites amid growing threats of war spreading to orbit.

Pence stayed away from most military issues while calling for space exploration and a new role for business in orbit.

“President Donald Trump believes the time has come once again to push onward and upward to new horizons and new destinations in the outer reaches of space,” Pence said.

Pence heads White House efforts in space, leading a panel of experts that has periodically gathered in Washington to plot the next steps in America’s conquest of the heavens. As head of the Space Council, Pence has brought GOP philosophy into the space race, calling for less regulation and more private competition in orbit.

Pence on Monday said he expects Trump to soon sign off on regulatory changes that will “modernize and streamline outdated regulatory systems.”

He also called for the government to take a more business-friendly approach to manned missions in Earth orbit.

“The government will be a tenant and a customer and not the landlord,” Pence said.

That change includes a new relationship between business and government in space, Pence said. To foster that partnership, Pence rolled out a proposal Monday that would seek business cooperation with Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs to track satellites and space junk.

A new regulation to control space traffic will cement that partnership and make orbit safer for military and commercial users by preventing debris strikes and satellite smash-ups on orbit, he said.

Last year, Pence called for an American return to the moon as stepping stone for manned missions to Mars.

He repeated that call Monday.

The vice president pointed to the new $21 billion NASA budget approved by Congress this year as a sign that America is accelerating efforts to resume manned exploration.

Since the end of the Apollo program in the 1970s, American astronauts have remained in Earth orbit, with satellites and robots tasked with exploration beyond the planet.

Pence said that’s about to change.

“Today we stand at the dawn of a new era of human activity in space.”

Tom Roeder, The Gazette

Tom Roeder, The Gazette