The Latest on President Donald Trump announcing new "Space Force," other space initiatives. (all times local):
President Donald Trump is announcing that he is directing the Pentagon to create the 'Space Force' as an independent service branch.
Trump said Monday that "we are going to have the space force" which he deemed a "separate but equal" branch of the military.
Trump says the United States will "be the leader by far" in space and looks to revive the nation's flagging space program.
The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want "China and Russia and other countries leading us."
Trump also vowed to soon return the United States to the moon and to reach Mars.
Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and members of his space council.
BREAKING: President Trump orders US military to form a "space force" military branch: "We must have American dominance in space." pic.twitter.com/BQ0Vcy0tdA— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 18, 2018
The White House is establishing a new policy for reducing satellite clutter in space.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the new space policy directive Monday, as the National Space Council convenes.
The new policy calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.
Vice President Mike Pence heads the recently revived space council. Cabinet members will take part in the afternoon meeting at the White House, as well as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.
The council's executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge.
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