Cape Canaveral, Fla: NASA has named 18 astronauts half of them women who will train for their Artemis moon-landing program.
The first female and next male on the moon would come from this elite group.
Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday introduced the astronauts to the close of his last meeting as chairman of the National Space Council. Only three remaining Saturn V Moon rockets from the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s were announced at the Floridas Kennedy Space Center.
My fellow Americans, I give you a future hero who will take us back to the moon and beyond, the Artemis generation, Pence said to the younger crowd, sitting several feet apart from each other.
Five of the astronauts walked to the stage only in attendance, waving and wearing masks.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein insisted that there would be more astronauts joining the group. NASA has 47 active astronauts.
The space agency is aiming to land the moon by 2024, although the likelihood of this happening continues to increase. The upcoming change in administration also adds uncertainty.
Half of NASA astronauts experience spaceflight. Two are currently on the International Space Station: Kate Rubins and Victor Glover.
Two astronauts who made the world’s first all-female spacewalk last year made the cut: Christina Koch and Jessica Mir.
It is a fairly young group, with most of them in their 30s or 40s. The oldest is 55, the youngest is 32. Only two Zoe Akba and Stephanie Wilson flew on NASA’s old space shuttle.
Other veteran members on the list include Kjell Lindgren, Anne McClain and Scott Tingle, both former Space Station residents.
Those rocketing into space: Kayla Baron, Raja Cherry, Matthew Dominic, Woody Hoberg, Johnny Kim, Nicole Mann, Jasmine Moghabelli, Frank Rubio and Jessica Watkins.
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