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Vice President Mike Pence coming to KSC to chair his final National Space Council meeting

Vice President Mike Pence addressing members of the U.S. military at Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 18, 2018.
Vice President Mike Pence addressing members of the U.S. military at Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 18, 2018.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Brevard County on Dec. 9 to chair his final meeting of the National Space Council at Kennedy Space Center.

Pence is scheduled to first visit Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, meeting with members of the 45th Space Wing. Then he will chair the 8th meeting of the National Space Council at Kennedy Space Center, according to the White House.

The last meeting of the council happened in May at NASA headquarters, a few weeks before SpaceX would successfully launch NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the space station.

Wednesday’s meeting will happen at the Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center at 12:30 p.m.

The vice president is expected to deliver remark’s on NASA’s Artemis program and space achievements made under President Donald Trump’s leadership.

The U.S. space program faces swings in guidance from one administration to another. During the past four years, Trump’s guidance of the space program was ambitious.

At the direction of the Trump Administration NASA moved up its return with astronauts to the moon by four years, now slated for 2024 but it remains to be seen if that goal is met or continues to be the timeline under the incoming administration. A test flight without astronauts, known as Artemis-1, around the moon is slated to launch next year from Kennedy Space Center.

This year, NASA astronauts launched from Florida for the first time since 2011 under the commercial crew program established under the Obama administration. SpaceX became the first private company to launch and deliver astronauts to the International Space Station-- and return them safely home.

Trump’s space policy has heavily focused on defense. Under his administration he established the U.S. Space Force, the branch under the U.S. Air Force and re-established U.S. Space Command to oversee national security missions in space, many of which already launch from Florida’s Space Coast. The U.S. Space Command was previously established in 1985 to coordinate the use of outer space by the branches of the U.S. military but later disbanded. In 2019, it was established as the 11th combatant command.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has already announced he will not stay on leading the American space agency, even if he is asked.

It’s not clear what the next four years under President-Elect Joe Biden will hold for NASA. Biden has not announced any major changes to NASA’s current goals, although restoring cuts to NASA’s Earth science programs under the Trump administration will coincide with his plans to take on climate change.


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