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White House Reconstitutes National Space Council
Updated July 7, 2017 5:56 AM
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(CAPE CANAVERAL, FL) - After 24 years the National Space Council is being revived and former Indiana governor and Vice-Pres. Mike Pence will serve as head. Pence promised a crowd that included the men and women of NASA that the U.S. would return to the moon and go to Mars.

"After being dormant since 1993, I'm proud to report that the National Space Council is up and running once again, and it will be my great honor as vice-president of the United States, to serve as its chair," said Pence, in a speech Thursday at Kennedy Space Center, at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"As the president said last week, the National Space Council, in his words, will be a central hub, guiding space policy within the administration, filling a void that's existed in American policy for nearly a quarter century."

Pence said the new National Space Council is the third interation of the Council.

"American presidents from Eisenhower to Kennedy, from Johnson to Nixon, to George H.W. Bush, all turned to the National Space Council for assistance and advice," said Pence, noting that the Council has provided guidance on space exploration and national security matters involving space.

Pence acknowledged that since the Council was disbanded, under the Clinton administration, America's space program has been neglected.

"The American people have never lost our passion to explore space and uncover its secrets. But, for nearly 25 years our government's commitment seems to have not matched the spirit of the American people," said Pence. "We will beat back any disadvantage that our lack of attention has placed and America will once again lead in space for the benefit and the security of all of our people in all of the world."

As the chair of the new National Space Council, Pence offered repeated assurance to the crowd, which included members of Congress who support America's mission of space exploration, that America will lead in space again, an effort which Pence said would include private enterprise.

"Welcome to a new era of American leadership in space."

Pence said his credentials for chairing the Council include his early fascination with the space program.

"I caught a passion for the space program when I was just a little boy in a small town in southern Indiana. Some of the most precious memories of my youth were gathered around a black and white television, watching images of American heroes making history."

He said that led him to getting involved with the space mission when he was in Congress.

"I asked to serve on the NASA subcommittee and I had the privilege, along with my wife and children, to attend several space shuttle launches," said Pence.

His mission is now bigger, to help guide America through what may be a new era in space exploration. Robert Lightfoot, temporary head of NASA, acknowledged the more generous 2018 budget for the agency, under the Trump administration.

Pence said the first meeting of the new National Space Council could be before the end of the summer.

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