CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA has named 18 astronauts – half of them women – who will train for its Artemis moon-landing program.
The first woman and the next man on the moon will come from this elite group.
Vice President Mike Pence introduced the astronauts Wednesday as the chairman of the National Space Council at the end of his final meeting. The announcement was made at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, one of the three remaining Saturn V moon rockets from the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s.
Pence noted that the late Apollo 17 commander Jean Chernen, the last of the 12 to walk on the moon, wanted nothing more than to remove “the last” from his title. Chernon’s last lunar footprint on December 14, 1972.
“He argued that for the rest of his natural life America would go to the moon, and we were going to honor the memory of Jean Chernen,” Pence told the small crowd, who sat several feet away from each other.
Five of the astronauts – the only attendees – walked on stage and wore shaky masks.
NASA executive Jim Bridenstein insisted that more astronauts join the group. NASA has 47 active astronauts.
The space agency aims A moon landing By 2024, the chances of that happening are increasingly dimming. The forthcoming change in management also adds to the uncertainty.
Half of NASA astronauts have space travel experience. Two are now on the International Space Station: Kate Rubins and Victor Clover.
Two astronauts who performed the world’s first show All female space walk Cut to last year: Christina Koch and Jessica Mir.
This is a very young group, most of them in their 30s or 40s. The oldest is 55, the youngest is 32. Only Joe Aqaba and Stephanie Wilson flew on NASA’s old spacecraft.
“History is wonderful, but we are here for the future,” Aqaba told reporters after the announcement.
Other experienced members on the list include Gazelle Lindgren, Anne McLean and Scott Dingle, all former space station residents.
“We dream, but more than that, we do,” McLean said.
He wants children from all backgrounds to notice a different lunar group: “The doors are open, come after us.”
Kayla Barron, Raja Sari, Matthew Dominic, Woody Hoburk, Johnny Kim, Nicole Mann, Jasmine Mokbeli, Frank Rubio and Jessica Watkins.