Read More: Space.com
At the second meeting of the newly reinstated National Space Council, held today (Feb. 21), Vice President Mike Pence and other U.S. officials emphasized that the U.S. is on top in space, but said that in order to stay there, the nation would need to streamline regulations to accelerate commercial space ventures. At the first National Space Council meeting in October, Pence emphasized that the U.S. will "win the 21st century in space," laying out a plan to focus on human spaceflight and get astronauts back to the moon. At today's meeting, hosted at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, he talked about the path toward that goal and brought in several panelists who supported loosening regulations to allow for more innovation from private spaceflight companies. "Our past triumphs draw us onward and upward to begin new journeys of exploration of our own, and reclaim our destiny as the vanguard of humanity's great adventure into the outer reaches of space," Pence said. "What we choose to do in space, like every frontier, plays a vital role in the lives of our people and the future of this nation here on Earth. It accelerates scientific discovery, spurs groundbreaking innovations, fuels our businesses, serves as the eyes and ears of America's war fighters and, quite literally, creates the jobs of the future." But, "while American industry and technology have leaped toward the future, our government agencies too often have remained stuck in the past," he added — stating that regulations for launch are redundant, sometimes contradictory and slow down innovative ideas like satellite refueling efforts.