The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration applauds Vice President Pence and members of the National Space Council for their leadership in calling for the return of humans to the surface of the Moon at the South Pole by 2024. We welcome the intention of this White House to accomplish these objectives “by any means necessary” and join with it and with Congress in our support of a robust program in deep space exploration.
Though we support the focus of this White House on deep space exploration and the sense of urgency instilled by aggressive timelines and goals, we also are cognizant of the resources that will be required to meet these objectives. Bold plans must be matched by bold resources made available in a consistent manner in order to assure successful execution. Similarly, the contracting mechanisms by which spacecraft, facilities, systems and supporting equipment are incorporated into a robust Moon-to-Mars architecture must be applied in a rapid and flexible manner with only the absolute minimum of bureaucratic process and oversight necessary to succeed. This is especially true for technologies that have long been in use but continue to labor under excessive oversight during development – a burden that exacerbates cost, schedule, and program risks.
We have great faith in the capabilities of American industry and entrepreneurs to execute on even the most audacious plans. The Coalition’s diverse membership is made up of established and entrepreneurial companies, both domestic and international, ranging from small to large. Many of our members are engaged in business across the entire space sector and represent the span of the American aerospace industry in support of human exploration, space science, and commercial development of space - from NASA’s programs of record in human exploration and science, to private companies doing business in low Earth orbit, to small startups. There is progress across all of these programs and activities on a daily basis. We remain strongly committed to all of them.
We join with the White House, the Congress, and the nation in celebrating this Apollo 11 anniversary year of the first human footsteps on another celestial body. While we look to the past for inspiration, we also beckon the future with great anticipation. Together with international and commercial partners, we look forward to our nation’s return to the Moon and eventually Mars, ensuring renewed American leadership in space on a long-term, sustainable basis.