Mike Pence says the U.S. is going to the moon and Mars

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Pence said that along with space exploration, the Trump administration wants NASA to renew America's commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security.

And in a statement Wednesday, NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said he had high hopes for Thursday's meeting of the re-booted council. During one of these visits he gave a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in which he called for further space exploration and said that the United States is at "the dawn of a new era of space exploration".

Now, Pence says, is the time to recognize that 'in the absence of American leadership, other nations have seized the opportunity to stake their claim in the infinite frontier'.

Above all, Pence stressed that the U.S. would lead in space again under the Trump administration.

"We won the race to the moon a half century ago, we will win the 21st century in space", he said at the first meeting of the revived National Space Council at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

Pence said the President is also looking to work with private business leaders and innovators.

According to NASA, the council was known as the National Aeronautics and Space Council from 1958 to 1973, and as the National Space Council from 1989 to 1993.

The meeting's opening remarks focused on moving away from the current outsourcing of manned launches, in which American astronauts go to space on Russian rockets. From there, we will turn our attention back toward our celestial neighbors.

"We will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundations we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond", he said to massive applause.

The council consists of professionals from various sectors of the space industry, including the Civil Commercial and National Security Sector.

Several NASA Twitter accounts tweeted quotes and videos from the event.

The Trump administration is committed to sending astronauts to the moon as part of a broader push to prioritize human spaceflight and firm up USA dominance in the final frontier, Vice President Mike Pence said. "In the face of this threat, America must be as dominant in the heavens as it is on Earth", Pence wrote in the op-ed.

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