Miami, US, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Wednesday 18 astronauts selected to form the Artemis Team for its new moon missions.
The team of nine men and nine women are part of the Artemis program, with which NASA plans to reach the Moon in 2024 and establish a permanent base.
One of the women will become the first to set foot on the moon.
The names of the astronauts were read out by Vice-President Mike Pence at the end of the eighth meeting of the National Space Council at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“I give you the heroes who will carry us to the Moon and beyond – the Artemis Generation,” Pence said next to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“It is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read. The Artemis Team astronauts are the future of American space exploration – and that future is bright.”
From this list of 18 astronauts, who according to NASA have a “diverse range of backgrounds, expertise, and experience,” will come the man and the woman who in four years will land on the moon to “establish a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade.”
Five astronauts, who are part of the team with which the US will continue the work of the historic Apollo missions, were in attendance at the presentation – teacher and hydrogeologist Joseph Acaba (53), US Navy test pilot Matthew Dominick (39), US Army pilot and flight engineer Anne McClain (41), marine biologist and physiologist Jessica Meir, 43, and geologist Jessica Watkins, 32.
Also part of the team are: Kayla Barron (33), Raja Chari (43), Victor Glover (44), Warren 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’s time to explore. Come along. #ArtemisGeneration,” tweeted koch.
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.
From this group of 18, NASA plans to select 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 also 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 US government formed the Space Force as the sixth branch of the US military last December, under the umbrella of the Air Force. The other branches are Ground, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. EFE-EPA