Donald Trump tells NASA to send Americans to Moon

Harrison Schmitt, an astronaut on Apollo 17, stood by the president while he signed Space Policy Directive 1.

The directive, which came on the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17's landing on the moon, called for collaboration with commercial companies and other nations, but it did not specify when the moon mission would occur or how much it might cost.

Gidley said Trump's move is based on recommendations from the National Space Council.

President Trump signed a new directive at the White House on Monday, aimed at furthering the administration's efforts in advancing space exploration for future missions to the Moon and Mars. "So we are the leader and we're going to stay the leader and we're going to increase it many fold".

"[The move] marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972 for long-time exploration", he said.

Mr Trump has signed a policy directive instructing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery".

"This afternoon, President Donald J. Trump will tell the country that it's time to refocus our vision for American space exploration".

Budget problems has been on ongoing issue for NASA for years.

Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, said he thinks the new directive could provide "a sense of urgency" to NASA's spaceflight pursuits.

SpaceX launches rockets for customers including NASA, commercial satellite operators and the USA military. 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. The agency retired its space shuttles in 2011, and American astronauts rely on Russian capsules to ferry them to and from the International Space Station.

In 2009, then president Barack Obama deemed it too costly and repetitive of missions already achieved, and canceled the program in order to focus on reaching Mars by the 2030s.

The new heavy-lift rocket that NASA is developing for deep-space missions - known as the Space Launch System - could serve as a core component of a moon trip.

  • Joe Gonzales