The National Space Council held its 5th meeting Tuesday in the Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville, Alabama, also President Mike Pence used a reason to press for an accelerated return of U.S. Astronauts to the Moon. The plan had been to land Americans near the Moon’s south pole in 2028, 56 years following the last Apollo Moonwalk, however, Pence wants that mission achieved 4 years sooner. Each of the bits of an incorporated Moon mission will need to come together quicker than previously planned. Including the rocket is being built by Boeing, the space capsule is being built by Lockheed Martin, along with a lunar lander not contracted.
Critics are questioning how this could all occur, but supporters point out that Americans first landed on the Moon only 98 months following President Kennedy proclaimed that aim, at a time when the available technology was far less advanced. There is not much mystery about why Pence has lit a fire under NASA, the nation’s civilian space agency, to move faster. China has started sending missions to the moon and may even land its own astronauts there ahead of the U.S. That could be a big setback to U.S. Prestige, also might signal that America is no longer preeminent in distance.