CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vice President Mike Pence returned to Kennedy Space Center Wednesday to tout the Trump administration's accomplishments and provide an update to the deep space exploration program.
What You Need To Know
- Vice President Mike Pence announced Wednesday a change for two Space Coast Air Force bases
- Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will now be a part of the Space Force
- Pence also talked about the Artemis program, which aims to return Americans to the moon
- RELATED: Read the National Space Policy of the United States
Pence chaired the eighth meeting of the National Space Council at Kennedy Space Center. He also announced a name change for the Space Coast's two space-supporting Air Force installations.
Patrick Air Force Base, home of the 45th Space Wing, will now be Patrick Space Force Base. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a historic launching point for rockets, is now Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Pence, who has been President Donald Trump's point person for the United States' space program, was also in Florida to deliver remarks on NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts back to the moon for the first time in some 50 years.
"We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space," Pence said.
Artemis is scheduled to send the first woman and the next man to the moon by 2024 and to use new technologies to study more of the lunar surface than in Apollo trips to the moon in the late 1960s and 1970s.
NASA's goal is to establish and maintain a permanent presence on the moon.
"We are going back to the moon, and this time we are going to stay," Pence said, to applause.
As the meeting wrapped, the Vice President announced the next cadre of Artemis astronauts -- 18 of them, with some making an appearance.
"My fellow Americans I give you the heroes of the future who'll carry us back to the moon and beyond, the Artemis generation," he said.
It may be his final visit to the space center as vice president. And there are questions over whether the Artemis program's timeline could change under the Biden administration.
President-elect Joe Biden has not outlined his space policy in-depth yet. Because of this, it is unclear what Pence's Artemis update for Wednesday afternoon will entail.
As Pence returned to Washington, United Launch Alliance prepared for the launch of a Delta IV Heavy rocket on the NROL 44 mission Thursday.
The rocket will be carrying an intelligence-gathering satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The launch window Thursday is 5:50 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. EST.
SpaceX is then planning a Falcon 9 rocket launch on Friday morning at 11:20 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.