Pence at the first National Space Council meeting in October 2017. Photo: Joel Kowsky / NASA via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence, the chair of the newly reconvened National Space Council, outlined President Trump's space strategy at the council's second meeting Wednesday. Pence said that for companies looking to commercialize low Earth orbit, "the government will be a partner and customer, not a competitor."

Why it matters: SpaceX's successful launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket in early February put the spotlight on private companies who have stepped into the space race. Trump says he plans to send Americans back to the moon, and then onto Mars, and his administration hopes to accomplish these goals with the help of private industry.

"The evidence is clear, while the government can blaze new trails into exploring the outer expanse of space, like all frontiers, it'll ultimately be settled by the dreams of our people, by the brilliance of our innovators ... There's no reason our government should stand in the way of private companies that are trailblazing."
— Vice President Pence
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who was also at the council meeting, announced plans to make his department a "one-stop shop" for private space companies.
  • He's moving the Office of Space Commerce and the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office from NOAA to his own office, so he'll have direct oversight, Ross said.
  • The council also recommends "creating a sort of space czar — an undersecretary of space commerce to oversee" regulatory functions, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeper: The private companies in the space race and highlights from the first council meeting.

Go deeper

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 20,532,835 — Total deaths: 747,845— Total recoveries: 12,743,275Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 5,193,266 — Total deaths: 165,934 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
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  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
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  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.
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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

France reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours — the largest single-day number since May. French officials said the situation was "clearly worsening," per France 24.

By the numbers: Over 745,600 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and over 20.4 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. Almost 12.7 million have recovered from the virus.

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U.S. reports 1,485 coronavirus deaths in a single day

Healthcare workers handling coronavirus tests in Los Angeles on August 11. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S. reported 1,485 deaths due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, COVID Tracking Project data shows.

Why it matters: It's the highest single-day COVID-19 death toll since May 15, when the country reported 1,507 deaths. The U.S. has seen a total of 157,758 deaths from the virus.