Pence speaks on future of spaceflight at Kennedy Space Center

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vice President Mike Pence visited NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.

Pence, who serves as chairman of the revived National Space Council, toured the facilities to learn more about the center's commercial clients and the progress the agency has achieved toward traveling to Mars.

Dale Ketcham, Space Florida's chief of strategic alliances, was hoping Pence would reveal the administration's vision for NASA and the commercial spaceflight industry Thursday.

"NASA is still focused on its key exploration mission," Ketcham said. "The commercial sector is where the growth opportunity for jobs, economic activity and mostly innovation is coming from."

Pence arrived at Cape Canaveral at about noon.

Almost 1,500 people packed the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building Thursday afternoon to hear Pence speak.

His trip marked the first time a vice president has landed at the shuttle landing facility.

“I come to assure you, that under president Donald Trump, America will lead in space again,” Pence said.

Pence gave an update on NASA’s progress toward launching astronauts from U.S. soil on spacecraft built by American companies on missions beyond the moon and eventually to Mars.

Pence also talked about arranging the first meeting of the National Space Council before the end of summer and the president's vision for that council.

Trump says the announcement of this new council sends a clear signal to the world about the United States' leadership in space. He says space exploration would help the economy and national security.

WATCH: VP Pence speaks at KSC 

WATCH LIVE: Vice President Mike Pence

WATCH LIVE: Vice President Mike Pence is speaking about the future of spaceflight at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Read: at.wftv.com/2sstXf8

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Additional members of the council are to include the secretaries of state, defense, commerce, transportation and homeland security, as well as the head of NASA, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The council will also draw on insights from scientists and business leaders.

The agency said that on Thursday, that the purpose of the Vice President's visit was to learn more about the center's work as a multi-user spaceport for commercial and government clients, as well as see the agency's progress toward launching from U.S. soil on spacecraft built by American companies, and traveling past the moon, and eventually on to Mars and beyond with the help of NASA's new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket. 

Last month, Pence traveled to Houston to introduce NASA's 2017 class of astronaut candidates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.