Speed Reads

The final frontier

Pence outlines the future of intergalactic exploration in first National Space Council meeting

"America first" isn't just President Trump's infamous foreign policy anymore — it's his intergalactic policy too.

In the reinstated National Space Council's first meeting Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence declared that the U.S. had fallen behind in the space race, singling out how the U.S. has been hitching rides to the International Space Station with Russia while not sending its own astronauts below low-Earth orbit in 45 years. With Russia and China building anti-satellite technology that threatens U.S. military effectiveness, Pence vowed the Trump administration wouldn't let America fall behind again:

Trump resurrected the council in June and instated Pence as its leader. Several top White House officials and space council members were at Thursday's meeting, where they questioned national security experts and commercial space CEOs from the likes of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and SpaceX, who touted the commercial benefits of high-speed flights across the country and space tourism.

Pence's introductory speech focused on professional, scientific space exploration, but the CEOs pushed a more populist view of space, emphasizing how they can bring space exploration to everyone — and boost the economy while they're at it. You can watch the council's whole meeting below. Kathryn Krawczyk