Kamala Harris to lead National Space Council

It is just the latest role handed to the Vice President - Andrew Harrer
It is just the latest role handed to the Vice President - Andrew Harrer

Kamala Harris will lead the US National Space Council to help generate national space policies for the Biden administration, adding yet another item to the Vice President's brief.

The Space Council was resurrected by the Trump administration in 2017 and led under Ms Harris' predecessor Mike Pence.

The Biden administration's decision to keep the Council in operation was confirmed with Ms Harris' appointment on Saturday.

However, a senior official told reporters that the Vice President intends "to put her own personal stamp" on the body and focus on a wide variety of space policies.

While national security will continue to be a key issue for the Council, Ms Harris also intends to also focus on the development of sustainable commercial spaceflight, climate change and efforts for science, engineering and maths education, the official said.

"In other words, the council's basic objectives: national security, basic science, technological development, contributions to US economic growth and the commercial sector will all be maintained," one official said.

In a tweet confirming the new role, the Vice President said: "As I've said before: In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it. I am honoured to lead our National Space Council."

It is just the latest role to be added to Ms Harris' brief. Joe Biden has also tasked his Vice President with leading the effort to tackle the flow of Central American migrants arriving at America's southern border, as well as helping deliver on the administration's ambitious infrastructure package.

"She's got a lot on her plate, as was originally said, and this is just one more big task that she is taking on because it's important. It's important to the President, and the country," an official told CNN.

The White House has not indicated when the Space Council's first meeting might take place and a civilian executive secretary for the body has not yet been appointed.

The Space Council was formed in 1989 under President George HW Bush to review the nation's space policies and strategies but was disbanded in 1993.

It was reformed under Donald Trump as part of the Republican president's drive to advance America's national interests through space policies, which also included the creation of a Space Force as a separate branch of the armed services.

The Biden administration confirmed earlier this year that the newly-formed Space Force had its "full support".