The Trump Administration officially reconstituted the National Space Council, an advisory group that once provided the White House with guidance on space policy, through an executive order announced at a public ceremony on Friday, June 30.
Attendees at the ceremony included Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) executive director Sandy Magnus, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA) Tory Bruno, Vice President Mike Pence, various members of Congress, and representatives of other commercial spaceflight companies.
In earlier statements, President Donald Trump said Pence would lead the council, which was disbanded after President George H.W. Bush left office in 1993.
“Today’s announcement sends a clear signal to the world that we are restoring America’s proud legacy of leadership in space,” Trump said during the ten-minute ceremony, which was not televised.
“The National Space Council will be a central hub guiding space policy within the administration. And I will draw on it for advice and information and recommendations for action,” the president noted.
According to the executive order, the National Space Council will include several cabinet members, NASA representatives, and leaders of the commercial spaceflight industry.
A “Users Advisory Group” will assure that the interests of non-government entities involved in spaceflight, including commercial spaceflight companies, are represented on the Council.
Among the Council’s responsibilities will be reviewing space policy, fostering cooperation and technology sharing among private and public entities in space-related activities, and making recommendations to the president.
Lightfoot described the re-establishment of the Council as “a testament to the importance of space exploration to our economy, our nation, and the planet as a whole.”
Mary Lynne Dittmar, president and CEO of the Coalition for Space Exploration, commended the action as a sign of “renewed commitment to NASA’s deep space exploration program.”
No details were provided on how the Council will conduct day-to-day operations. Individual members will be appointed in the near future.