US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to re-establish the National Space Council in a bid to coordinate commercial, technological and national security opportunities for the country, NASA said in a statement issued on Saturday. Trump signed the executive order on Friday. The council existed previously from 1989-1993, and a version of it also existed as the National Aeronautics and Space Council from 1958-1973. “I am pleased that President Trump has signed an executive order re-establishing the National Space Council,” said Robert Lightfoot, acting NASA Administrator. The directive to re-launch the council was part of the promise by Trump’s presidential campaign. Vice President Mike Pence announced in March that he would chair the reinstated council. “Today’s (Friday) announcement sends a clear signal to the world that we are restoring America’s proud legacy of leadership in space,” Trump said after signing the order. “Our Vice President cares very deeply about space policy, and for good reason. Space exploration is not only essential to our character as a nation, but also our economy and our great nation’s security,” he added.
The high-level group comprising the leaders of government agencies with a stake in space, including the NASA administrator, the Secretaries of State, Commerce, Defence, and others, will be chaired by Vice President Pence, the NASA statement said. “I’m honored and frankly enthusiastic about the role @POTUS (President of the US) has asked me to play in renewing our nation’s commitment to space,” Pence tweeted. The new council will help ensure that all aspects of the nation’s space power — national security, commerce, international relations, exploration, and science — are coordinated and aligned to best serve the American people.
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A users’ advisory group will also be convened so that the interests of industries and other non-federal entities are represented. “The establishment of the council is another demonstration of the Trump Administration’s deep interest in our work,” Lightfoot added.