News & Politics

Apollo 11 Flight Director Gene Kranz on Trump's Handling of NASA: 'It's Great to Again Have the Inspiration'

Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz in Washington on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Nicholas Ballasy)

WASHINGTON — Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz applauded the Trump administration’s handling of NASA, saying that “it’s great to again have the inspiration that we’re getting moving again in space.”

Trump has pledged to return Americans to the moon by 2024. In 2010, former President Barack Obama cancelled NASA’s plan to go back to the moon by 2020, which was established under former President George W. Bush. Kranz was asked if he is satisfied with the Trump administration when it comes to U.S. space exploration.

“I think it’s very straightforward here. I think it’s great to again have the inspiration that we’re getting moving again in space. I think it’s important to focus on the moon,” Kranz said on Tuesday after testifying at a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee hearing on NASA’s Exploration Plans: Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going. “I think Mars is in the background right now until we learn to live and work for sustained periods of time in space.”

Apollo 11 NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin is a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s National Space Council. Kranz attended President Trump’s signing of an executive order that re-established the council. Kranz was asked if he plans to collaborate with the White House on space exploration and other NASA related issues.

“I will do whatever they ask me to do in order to get moving again. I want to see and have my kids see an American back on the moon. I’m not going to see it. I’m too old but basically they and their children can see an American — we’ve got to recapture and maintain possession of a high ground,” Kranz said.

Actor Ed Harris played Kranz in the 1995 film Apollo 13. Kranz is the author of Failure is Not an Option, which is a memoir about his experience working for NASA on the first moon landing and Apollo 13.

Follow Nicholas Ballasy on Twitter @NicholasBallasy