Christina Koch from Jacksonville among astronauts who could fly to the moon

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA, (WITN) -NASA has named the 18 astronauts who will train for the Artemis moon landing program. One of them is the NC state graduate Christina Koch.

The first woman and the next man on the moon will be from this select group.

Vice President Mike Pence introduced the astronauts on Wednesday at the end of his final session as head of the National Space Council.

The announcement was made at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida under one of only three remaining Saturn V moon rockets from the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s.

Half of the astronauts are women and the other half have experience in space travel.

The space agency is aiming for a moon landing by 2024, although the chances are getting smaller. The imminent change in administration also increases uncertainty.

Half of NASA astronauts have experience in space travel. Two are on the International Space Station right now: Kate Rubins and Victor Glover.

The two astronauts who carried out the world’s first all-female spacewalk last year made the cut: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.

Koch attended White Oak High School in Jacksonville before graduating from the NC School of Science and Mathematics and NC State.

It’s a pretty young group, with most of them in their 30s or 40s. The oldest is 55, the youngest 32. Only two – Joe Acaba and Stephanie Wilson – flew on NASA’s old space shuttles.

The other seasoned members on the list are Kjell Lindgren, Anne McClain and Scott Tingle, all former residents of the space station.

Among those who haven’t shot into space: Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Woody Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Nicole Mann, Jasmin Moghbeli, Frank Rubio and Jessica Watkins.

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