Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on space innovation, funding NASA's moon return

News 6 interviews Mnuchin on visit to NASA's Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he sees space innovation as key to the betterment of mankind and addressed his concerns about national debt during a wide-ranging interview Thursday with News 6's Matt Austin at Kennedy Space Center.

The secretary was in Orlando on Thursday to speak at the Financial Action Task Force conference. He topped off his visit to Central Florida with a stop at Kennedy Space Center.

Mnuchin said his address to the task force "focused on what we’re doing to combat terrorist financing ... the risks of crypto assets and making sure that they’re not going to be used for bad actors, cryptocurrencies."

Mnuchin said a stop at the space center was important for him because of space-related job creation and the innovation happening on the Space Coast.

"I think it’s very important to Florida’s economy. It’s very important to the innovation. It brings a lot of jobs here, a lot of new technology, and I think one of the things you know under the Trump administration, we’re looking at space as not just traveling for the sake of traveling, but for the sake of technology and for the sake of understanding how all these resources can be used for the betterment of mankind," Mnuchin said.

The treasury secretary also spoke about President Donald Trump's vision for NASA's space exploration and the funding needed to make efforts such as the Artemis moon program possible.

Trump recently requested an additional $1.6 billion in funding for NASA to help kick-start the goal of returning humans to the moon in the next five years, which Congress has yet to approve.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently told CNN he thinks it will cost between $20 billion to $30 billion to put humans on the moon again.

“He’s more than willing to put (in) some money," Mnuchin said. "He and the Vice President (Mike Pence) really want to rebuild the importance of NASA, want to go back to the moon, want to go to Mars, and he’s really delivered a very critical vision for the next 20 years of what we should be doing in space.”

About the Author: