NASA announced this Wednesday the 18 astronauts, nine men and nine women, who will be part of the Artemis program, with which it plans to reach the Moon in 2024 and establish a permanent base, and among which are the one that will be the first woman to set foot on the Earth’s satellite.
Miami World / EFE
From this list of 18 astronauts, who according to NASA have a “wide range of backgrounds, knowledge and experience”, will come the man and woman who will land on the moon in four years and who will pave the way for the next human missions that will orbit and arrive to the moon.
The names of the 18 astronauts were released this Wednesday by the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, at the end of the eighth and final meeting of the National Space Council, at the Keneddy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“I present to you the heroes who will take us to the Moon and beyond, the Artemis generation,” said Pence after reading the list of 18 astronauts, next to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Five astronauts who make up the team with which the United States will continue the work of the historic Apollo missions that reached the Moon for the first time 50 years ago were part of the presentation.
The five astronauts who were present at Cape Canaveral were 53-year-old hydrogeologist Joe Fincas; the test pilot in the US Navy, Matthew Dominick, 39; 41-year-old US Army and aerospace engineer Anne McClain; the marine biologist and philosopher Jessica Meir, 43, and the geologist Jessica Watkins, 32.
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The others who are part of the team of 18 astronauts are: Kayla Barron (33 years), Raja Chari (43), Victor Glover (44), Woody Hoburg (35), Jonny Kim (36), Christina Koch (41), Kjell Lindgren (47), Nicole Mann (43), Jasmin Moghbeli (37), Kate Rubins (42), Frank Rubio (44), Scott Tingle (55) and Stephanie Wilson (54).
“It is really surprising to think that the next man and the first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read that may be standing in the room right now,” said Vice President Pence.
The space agency’s Artemis program, named after Apollo’s twin sister, is scheduled to begin sending robotic missions in 2021, followed by manned Artemis II missions that will orbit the Moon in 2023.
Pence thanked US President Donald Trump “for renewing American leadership in space.”
NASA plans to select from this group of 18 the members of the Artemis II crew starting in 2021, and subsequently the Artemis III crew, which will reach the Moon.
During the business meeting, Pence further announced that Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will become Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base will become Patrick Space Force Base.
The United States Government has defined the Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces – the others are the Air, Land, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard – although it will be under the Air Force umbrella.