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Vice president visiting Huntsville today, may cause traffic delays

HUNTSVILLE — As Vice President Mike Pence meets today with the National Space Council at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville Police have advised drivers to expect traffic delays due to backups on I-565 from about 10-11 a.m. and again at 2-3 p.m.

The backups are expected to be concentrated between Huntsville International Airport and the USSRC.

According to a post yesterday from HPD, “Huntsville Police have been working closely with the United States Secret Service and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for the past several weeks to ensure everyone’s safety during the visit.”

Madison Police said the traffic could affect Madison near the on- and off-ramps to I-565. MPD tweeted earlier this morning that they received their final briefing on Pence’s visit. MPD, HPD, ALEA and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will all be working to provide increased safety measures in the area during Pence’s time in Huntsville.

Pence last visited Huntsville in 2017 before heading to Birmingham to speak in support of Luther Strange at an election rally. Today, his objective as chairman of the National Space Council is to meet with the council concerning the U.S.’s goals in space, which is set to include plans to put man back on the moon in five years. NASA officials said the meeting will also entail talks of taking astronauts all the way to Mars and elsewhere.

Two expert panels—“Ready to Fly” and “Ready to Explore”—will include three experts on each, including two former NASA astronauts, retired members of the U.S. Air Force, a representative from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and more.

It’s no secret that Huntsville played a crucial role in the U.S.’s last visit to the moon a few decades ago. If the U.S. does decide to move forward with these plans, the space agency will have to address begin hammering out the logistics.

According to AL.com, Pence has been reported to be “unhappy” that NASA is moving too slowly to develop the Space Launch System here in Huntsville at the Marshall Space Flight Center. America will likely have a better idea after today’s meeting how the White House feels about the current status of the national space program.

While the public is not expected to have any opportunities to interact with Pence during his visit, the meeting will be live streamed on NASA TV at noon today. Watch the meeting at nasa.gov/nasalive. During his visit, Pence may also tour Space Camp and the USSRC, which continue to be two of Huntsville’s biggest international tourism draws.

Read the NASA news release here.

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