NASA has shared a waitlist of astronauts qualified for the first Artemis missions to the Moon, and it won’t astound you to hear that it’s an eclectic mix. The 18 applicants cover a range of backgrounds, yet incorporate everybody from relative newcomers to some of its most seasoned veterans.
Eight of the astronauts are from the 2017 class, including US Navy Lieutenant Commander Kayla Barron, Navy SEAL and medical doctor Jonny Kim and Curiosity science colleague Jessica Watkins. There are likewise a few 2013 veterans, however, including record-setter Christina Koch and Crew Dragon pilot Victor Glover. A few of the applicants are far more experienced, however — Stephanie Wilson handled her astronaut role in 1996, while Joseph Acaba made sure about his place in 2004.
There’s no sign of who’s well on the way to fly, and a significant number of these astronauts may end up performing support roles. They’ll team up with the organizations creating Moon landers, define training, set hardware necessities and counsel on technical work. They’ll serve as the public face of the Artemis program, as well.
The move makes NASA one step nearer to placing individuals on the Moon in 2024. It’s coming at an unusual time, however. With another US organization only weeks away, it’s hazy how the Artemis program will proceed (if by any means). Priorities could without much of a stretch change, and a significant number of these astronauts may need to hold on for some time if there are any postponements.