President Donald Trump on Monday reiterated his long-held belief that the United States will someday go to the Moon by the 2030s.
“I believe it will happen,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One, as he boarded Air Force Two to return to Washington.
“You know, it is not a question of if, it’s a question that’s really up to the American people,” Trump said, speaking in a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“I believe that the American and Japanese people will make the decision.”
The president also said he’s “very confident” the US will eventually go to space.
“We’ll be able to go to our destinations in the near future,” he said.
“We’re not there yet, but I think that the country is very confident.”
In his speech on the White House lawn, Trump said the US would “make a deal with China” to get astronauts to the lunar surface by 2030.
Trump said the country would be “taking a very important step” in the direction of space exploration and that the US is “not going to take a back seat” to China in space exploration.
“But we will not take a backward step,” Trump added.
“If we want to have a long-term economic partnership with China, we have to get the people that are building these massive, massive space facilities back into the United State.”
Trump said his administration has been working to get a “good deal” for the US in the Space Launch System, a joint US-Russian program to launch astronauts to low-Earth orbit.
“China has already said they are not going to send people to the ISS, so I think they’re not going,” Trump noted.
“They are going to put the first crew to the space station, but they’re going to have to go through all the process of getting it approved by NASA.”
He added, “We will do a deal.
We will get it done.
And we’re going for a very good deal.”
Abe also expressed confidence in Trump’s plans.
“The president has said he wants to make the United Kingdom, Germany and France space partners, so it’s very important to Japan and Germany and the United Arab Emirates that we are able to send our people back to the country where they were born, where they came from, where their parents are from, and where they want to be in the future,” Abe said.