President Donald Trumped signed a new space policy directive Monday (Dec. 11) ordering NASA to work toward sending humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars.
As he signed the new directive at the White House, surrounded by several astronauts and other dignitaries, the president said that the order would "restore American leadership in space."
In Photos: President Trump Aims for the Moon with Space Policy Directive 1
Experts across the space industry showed overwhelming support for the new directive, formally known as Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD-1). Here's how they reacted. [From Ike to Trump: Presidential Visions for Space Exploration]
Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot
"NASA looks forward to supporting the president's directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond," acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. "This work represents a national effort on many fronts, with America leading the way. We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement. Our workforce is committed to this effort, and even now, we are developing a flexible deep-space infrastructure to support a steady cadence of increasingly complex missions that strengthens American leadership in the boundless frontier of space. The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path."
"We support the president and vice president's vision and commitment to return America to the moon," Lockheed Martin officials said in a statement. The aerospace engineering company is a contractor for NASA and is currently working on the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle that will carry astronauts beyond Earth orbit. "A lunar mission with today's technology would further our understanding of the moon's history and resources. And it will build a strong foundation that will not only accelerate the U.S. to Mars and beyond. It will foster a thriving new space economy that will create jobs and drive innovation here on Earth. With the Orion deep-space vehicle and our prototype orbital lunar habitat making outstanding progress, we are ready to help the nation achieve this bold new vision." [In Photos: President Donald Trump and NASA]
Eric Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) "applauds President Trump for signing Space Policy Directive 1, which directs NASA to partner with the U.S. commercial space industry to return Americans to the moon," Eric Stallmer, president of CSF, said in a statement. "The U.S. commercial space industry has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in private capital to develop innovative capabilities for lunar transport, operations and resource utilization. CSF recommends that the administration challenge NASA to leverage these commercial capabilities to generate greater efficiency, and to partner with industry through flexible, innovative contracting approaches to achieve the goals set out in Space Policy Directive 1 as quickly as possible."
Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
"The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) signed today by President Trump, formalizing the commitment made by the administration during the first meeting of the National Space Council to reinvigorate America's deep-space exploration program," officials with the coalition said in a statement.
"After 45 years, it is time to return humans to the region of the moon even as we look toward Mars," CEO Mary Lynne Dittmar said in the statement. "The Coalition is proud to support NASA and to help bring about this exciting future. We congratulate the Trump administration on its bold vision and commitment to American leadership in space. … NASA's flagship programs for human space exploration — the Orion crew vehicle and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket — supported by ongoing research on human health and performance conducted on the International Space Station — will take a major step to fulfilling this vision beginning with Exploration Mission 1 targeted for late 2019."
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman
"By signing this directive, President Trump has again shown that, under his administration, America will be a leader in space exploration," U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said in a statement. "Going back to the moon as the precursor to further exploration will enable NASA to test new systems and equipment critical for future missions, like the human exploration of Mars. Going back to the moon achieves more than just the practical benefits; it will teach our children and grandchildren to dream big and strive to achieve what others think impossible. The innovations, inventions and ideas that they come up with, inspired by exploring the moon and Mars, will fuel future aspirations to explore worlds beyond Mars. This administration's dedication to space is a refreshing change from the past eight years."
Brian Babin, (R-Texas)
House Space Subcommittee Chairman
"By signing this space policy directive and refocusing America's space program on human spaceflight exploration, the president has ensured America's leadership in space and prioritized our return to the moon and future manned missions to Mars," House Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin said in a statement. "Under the president's leadership, we are now on the verge of a new generation of American greatness and leadership in space — leading us to once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil."
Email Hanneke Weitering at email@example.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.