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VP Mike Pence says Trump is committed to easing regulations on commercial space exploration, and cleaning up space junk

COLORADO SPRINGS — With America’s commitment to send humans back to the moon and then on to Mars, Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the U.S. is working to ease up regulations for commercial space companies to do so.

“As President Trump said the day he revived the National Space Council, the human soul yearns for discovery,” Pence said during his 20-minute speech at the 34th annual Space Symposium. The audience at the Broadmoor Hotel included Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., NASA’s acting administrator.

“Space Policy Directive 1 instructs NASA to send American astronauts back to the moon where we will establish the capacity with international and commercial partners to send Americans to Mars,” he said.

Pence started his speech addressing Friday’s missile strike that targeted the chemical weapons cache of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, accused of a chemical attack on his own people. The precision strike was “perfectly executed” to cripple Assad’s weapons program, said Pence, who then turned to the American companies who developed the missile technology.

“President Trump and I could not be more proud of the efforts of our armed forces and our allies this weekend,” he said. “And let me say to all of you here, we could not be more grateful to all of you who work every day to provide for the common defense for the United States of America.”

Pence, who heads up the National Space Council, shared that the group is pushing for new regulations for commercial space companies to pursue launch, reentry and other commercial endeavors.

“Under these reforms, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will continue leading their departments to modernize and streamline outdated regulatory systems so we can empower America’s burgeoning commercial launch industry and innovative space companies to unlock new opportunities and new technology and new sources of prosperity without the present barriers imposed by cumbersome and duplicative regulatory structures” Pence said.

He’s also sending a proposal to President Donald Trump that will clean up “the tens of thousands of man-made objects orbiting around earth,” Pence said. Citing the 2009 collision of the U.S.’s Iridium satellite with an inactive Russian satellite that spread space debris, which can impact security technology.

“The volume of space traffic will only increase in the years ahead,” said Pence, of the proposed space traffic management policy

Pence said he expects Trump will approve these “in the near future.”

Vice President Michael Pence gives opening ...

Nadav Soroker, The Gazette via AP

Vice President Michael Pence gives opening remarks in the International Center at the 34th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Monday, April 16, 2018.

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