Trump's new space policy makes a major impact in Utah

Trump's new space policy makes a major impact in Utah (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - To the moon and on to Mars. President Trump's new space policy is already making a major impact right here in Utah. That’s because parts of the rockets NASA sends up to space are built in Northern Utah.

Monday, Dec. 11, Trump signed a space Policy Directive, which is a plan to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars.

“We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond. This directive will ensure America's space program once again leads and inspires all of humanity," he said.

Charlie Precourt, the vice president and general manager of Propulsions Systems at Orbital ATK, is a former NASA astronaut. He said this announcement is a big deal for Utah.

“We provide the booster propulsion system for NASA’s rockets that get us to space,” he said. After the shuttle program ended, Precourt said there was a lull for ATK Orbital because NASA is one-third of ATK's business.

The newest mission to the Moon and Mars is far different then what the company has been doing the last few decades. “I can foresee about a hundred new jobs here in our division in the next 12 to 18 months,” Precourt said.

Precourt explained they have already been testing rockets for the first unmanned mission to the moon which will be launched in 2019.

"Many have wondered why are we going back to the Moon when we have already been there," Precourt said. “It's a building block approach to get us to Mars.”

Astronauts will be using it as a practice site for deep space living.

“We can prove out our capabilities in the crews’ ability to live on their own for long periods of time,” he said.

"At some point in the very distant future our human species to survive has to learn elsewhere than on earth," he added.

Precourt said they also build the launch abort system of the spacecraft here in Utah. That's the part if there were ever an issue, the astronauts can detach from the rocket to safety.

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