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Jacksonville’s Christina Koch among astronauts that could head to the moon

NASA has named the 18 astronauts who will train for its Artemis moon-landing program and one of...
NASA has named the 18 astronauts who will train for its Artemis moon-landing program and one of them is NC native Christina Koch(NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 9:06 PM EST
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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA, (WITN) -NASA has named the 18 astronauts who will train for its Artemis moon-landing program and one of them is NC State Graduate Christina Koch.

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

Vice President Mike Pence introduced the astronauts Wednesday at the close of his final meeting as head of the National Space Council.

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

Half of the astronauts are women and half have spaceflight experience.

The space agency is aiming for a moon landing by 2024, although the chances of that happening are growing increasingly dim. The upcoming change in administration also adds uncertainty.

Half of the NASA astronauts have spaceflight experience. Two are at the International Space Station right now: Kate Rubins and Victor Glover.

The two astronauts who performed 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 fairly young group, with most 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 experienced members on the list include Kjell Lindgren, Anne McClain and Scott Tingle, all former space station residents.

Among those yet to rocket 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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