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NASA Selects Indian-American Astronaut Raja Chari For Manned Mission To Moon

NASA Selects Indian-American Astronaut Raja Chari For Manned Mission To Moon

Raja Chari - Indian American Astronaut - Artemis Program NASA

Raja Chari, an Indian-American US Air Force colonel, is among 18 astronauts, who have been selected by NASA for its ambitious manned mission to the Moon and beyond.

The modern lunar exploration program will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 and establish a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade, the American space agency said.

NASA on Wednesday named the 18 astronauts who will train for its Artemis moon-landing program.

Raja Chari, 43, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and US Naval Test Pilot School, is the only Indian-American on the list.

He was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class.

He reported for duty in August 2017 and has completed the initial astronaut candidate training 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.

The astronauts on the Artemis Team come from a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise, and experience. Most of the astronauts in the group are in their 30s or 40s. The oldest is 55, the youngest 32.

NASA Selects Indian-American Astronaut Raja Chari For Manned Mission To Moon
Image Source: Twitter via @NASAWonderWoman

NASA will announce flight assignments for astronauts later, pulling from the Artemis Team. Additional Artemis Team members, including international partner astronauts, will join this group, as needed.

The selected astronauts will help NASA prepare for the coming Artemis missions, which begin next year working with the agency’s commercial partners as they develop 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.

The other members on the list include Christina Koch and Jessica Meir — the two astronauts who performed the world’s first all-female spacewalk last year.

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