In a signal of strong support for the U.S. space program, President Donald Trump on Thursday used the start of a White House Cabinet meeting to shower praise on NASA, and the work of the privately run SpaceX, giving his full backing to efforts to resume a more aggressive American human space flight program.
"It's really amazing what's happening in regards to space and our country," the President said, with a series of models of space vehicles and rockets sitting on table in front of him in the Cabinet Room, as he gave his full support to .
"NASA is making tremendous strides," the President said, reserving much of his praise for SpaceX, run by billionaire Elon Musk.
"We're using a lot of private money, a lot of people that love, they love rockets - and they're rich," Mr. Trump added.
"Nobody's doing what we're doing," the President said.
One month after the successful SpaceX test of the Falcon Heavy, the President was still gushing about how the company had designed booster rockets which could be used to put a vehicle in space, and then return to earth for later re-use.
"To me, that was more amazing than watching the rocket go up," the President said.
Mr. Trump again expressed his support for the long term goal of sending U.S. spaceships - and astronauts - to Mars and other areas of the galaxy, in what would be one of the biggest steps forward for the space agency since the Apollo landings on the moon in the 1970's.
"We'll be sending something very beautiful to Mars in the very near future," he added.