"Today, the National Space Council will send recommendations to the president that will launch a major course correction for NASA and re-ignite that spark of urgency that propelled America to the vanguard of space exploration 50 years ago", Pence said. "If NASA is not currently capable of landing American astronauts on the moon in five years, we need to change the organization, not the mission".
As @POTUS has made clear: the policy of this administration is for the U.S. to return American astronauts to the Moon within the next 5 years! The first woman & the next man on the Moon will both be American astronauts, launched by American rockets, from American soil! pic.twitter.com/ebtAOxJE8l— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) 26 марта 2019 г.
Pence told fellow members of the Space Council at a NASA facility in the state of Alabama that NASA needs to transform itself into a leaner, more accountable organization that is capable of meeting deadlines within existing budgets.
"To reach the moon in the next five years, we must select our destinations now", Pence said. "And today the National Space Council will recommend that when the first American astronauts return to the lunar surface that they will take their first steps on the moon’s south pole".
Pence, who chairs the council, also urged NASA to build new partnerships with America’s private space companies and entrepreneurs, adding that "we're in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s".
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in turn on Twitter, "Challenge accepted".
BIG NEWS: President Trump and @VP Pence have directed @NASA to return astronauts to the Moon in the next 5 years.— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) 26 марта 2019 г.
Challenge accepted. Now let’s get to work.https://t.co/MjcDSG6NLc pic.twitter.com/QqYofbKzOe
Over 500 million people worldwide reportedly watched the touchdown of the Apollo 11 spacecraft on 20 July 1969 on the moon. US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, was the spacecraft’s commander. Armstrong and his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin spent some three hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.
The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the moon. More than a hundred countries received lunar rocks from NASA after lunar missions in the 1970s.