50 percent of the astronauts selected for Project Artemis training program are women
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced the names of 18 astronauts – half of them women – selected for the Artemis lunar landing training program.
The first woman in the world to walk on the moon will be chosen from this elite group.
Vice President Mike Pence introduced the astronauts Wednesday at the end of his last meeting as chairman of the U.S. National Space Council. The meeting last night at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, under one of the three Saturn 5 rockets used by U.S. astronauts to visit the moon several times as part of NASA’s Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s.
Mike Pence recalled that the late Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan, the last of the 12 Americans to visit the moon, would not want the word “last” to remain forever in his title. Cernan took his last step on the surface of the moon on Dec. 14, 1972.
“He spent the rest of his life advocating for America’s return to the moon, and we will now honor Gene Cernan,” Pence said in front of a small group of council members and five astronauts.
NASA chief Jim Bridenstein stressed that the training program’s roster is sure to grow. There are now 47 astronauts at NASA.
The space agency plans to carry out a mission to the moon no later than 2024, although the chances of it are becoming less and less. The upcoming change of administration also adds uncertainty.
Half of NASA’s astronauts have been to space before. Two of them, Keith Rubins and Victor Glover, are now aboard the International Space Station. Most of the training group participants are between 30 and 40 years old, the oldest participant is 55 and the youngest is 32.
Other experienced astronauts include Kjell Lindgren, Anne McClain and Scott Tingle, who have already been aboard the ISS.