NASA Selects Initial Team Of 18 Astronauts For Artemis Program

The US space agency NASA has named 18 astronauts who will be given training for its Artemis mission. According to the agency, half of the 18 are women. They will be trained for the moon-landing program. NASA is planning to land two astronauts including a female on the lunar surface in 2024. Under the Artemis program, it will send three spaceships. The third will take two astronauts to the Moon. They will stay here for nearly a week and conduct scientific studies. Vice President Mike Pence introduced the team of 18 astronauts at Kennedy Space Center. NASA said that more astronauts will join the group. The agency has as many as 47 active astronauts.

According to NASA, half of its astronauts have experience of spaceflight. Two of them are currently at the International Space Station. Its two female astronauts — Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who in 2019 become the world’s first all-female to perform spacewalk also made the cut. While the oldest in the group is 55, the youngest astronaut is 32. The first spacecraft will be launched in 2021. It will be an uncrewed flight. The agency will together check the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft. The second spacecraft will be launched in 2022-23. It will be a crewed lunar flyby mission.

The two missions will demonstrate NASA’s new technologies and capabilities. The third and final spacecraft will take a crew to Moon. The agency will land the first woman and the next man on Moon. As per the plan, the mission will be launched in 2024. Women have gone to space for exploration, but they have not set their foot on any celestial body. As many as 12 men have touched down on the lunar surface so far. NASA wants to develop a base on the Moon. It wants to use the Artemis mission to pave the way for human exploration of the space and Moon. The agency is already broadening its international partnerships and encouraging private players to undertake missions.