Pence Briefs Cabinet on National Space Council Activities

Pence Briefs Cabinet on National Space Council Activities

President Trump’s remarks about the space program yesterday were a prelude to a briefing by Vice President Mike Pence on activities of the National Space Council, which Pence chairs.  It included updates on NASA’s exploration program and on regulatory reform, the latter of which was the focus of the Council’s meeting last month.

Trump opened the Cabinet meeting with about 20 minutes of remarks that were televised on a variety of subjects.  Among them were laudatory comments about NASA and “rich guys” who “love rockets” and are bringing down the cost of launch.  He specifically mentioned SpaceX’s Elon Musk and the Falcon Heavy test launch on February 6.

Several models of rockets were on display on the table and Trump said he had asked they be placed closer together so they could be more easily viewed on camera.  Thus it was clear that his discussion of space was planned, but little else about the context.

Later, however, Pence issued three tweets summarizing a briefing he had made to Trump and the Cabinet.  One showed a chart of where jobs are located to support NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft and associated Exploration Ground Systems, and the others more generally referred to U.S. leadership in space and how space programs create jobs.

Today, an administration official told that the briefing generally covered how NASA is complying with the  President’s Space Policy Directive 1 as well as the regulatory recommendations from the February National Space Council meeting.  The official added that no action items related to space resulted from the Cabinet meeting.

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