Pence, who chairs the commission, said the United States plans to rebuild a space program to send humans back to the surface of the moon - a decision meant to serve as a "steppingstone [and] training ground" to attempt a manned mission to Mars.
Space industry leaders said they and NASA are building the spaceships to get there. And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon - but not quite land there yet. "We will return American astronauts to the moon not only to leave behind footprints and flags but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond".
The location of the first ever meeting of the National Space Council, with Space Shuttle Discovery in the background. He said that the government has not been able to match the spirit the American people have for space travel.
However, it's unclear what truly lies ahead for NASA, as most of today's National Space Council meeting was big on talk, while light on concrete strategies.
Along with Pence, members of the National Space Council include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Deputy Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios and Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Left unsaid is how NASA will get humans to the Moon and (eventually, probably decades from now) Mars.
This seems to clearly be a reference to innovative rocket design and reusability coming from new space companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. We stopped, ' he said.
'We started [it], but we never completed.
"The U.S. pays Russian Federation more than $76 million a seat to carry American astronauts to the International Space Station, since we have no vehicle capable of performing this task", Pence wrote.
"We have proven that USA ventures in space lead to broad societal benefits that lift our national economy", said Hewson.
It's a return to the vision of President George W. Bush, which was deferred when President Obama reoriented the space agency toward a journey to Mars.