An Indian-American, Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari, is among the 18 astronauts selected by the NASA for its manned mission to the Moon and beyond.
On Wednesday, NASA named the 18 astronauts who will be trained for its Artemis moon-landing programme. Half of the list includes women.
A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, MIT, and US Naval Test Pilot School, Chari, aged 43, is the only Indian-American selected for the manned moon mission.
In 2017, he was selected by NASA to join the Astronaut Candidate Class, Having completed the initial astronaut candidate training, Chari is now eligible for a mission assignment.
"My fellow Americans, I give you the heroes of the future who will carry us back to the Moon and beyond: the Artemis Generation," Vice President Mike Pence said at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Wednesday, reported The Times Of India.
After introducing the members of the Artemis Team, during the eighth National Space Council meeting, Pence said, "It really is amazing to think that the next man and the first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read...We started today reflecting on a great hero of the past. The Artemis Generation are the heroes of American space exploration in the future."
The astronauts on the Artemis Team are mostly in their 30s or 40s.
The agency's modern lunar exploration programme will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024.
According to NASA, with this programme, it will establish a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade.
The selected astronauts will help NASA prepare for the coming Artemis missions.
The missions are going to begin next year working with the agency's commercial partners.
The commercial partners will focus on developing human landing systems; assisting in the development of training; defining hardware requirements; and consulting on technical development. They also will engage the public and industry on NASA's exploration plans.
"There is so much exciting work ahead of us as we return to the moon, and it will take the entire astronaut corps to make that happen," Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester said.
The two astronauts, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who performed the world's first all-female spacewalk last year are also included in the list.
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