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Raja Chari, Indian-American Astronaut. Wikimedia commons

NASA has selected an initial team of 18 astronauts, including Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari, to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024.

Vice President of the US Mike Pence introduced the members of the Artemis Team on Wednesday during the eighth National Space Council meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.


“I give you the heroes who will carry us to the Moon and beyond — the Artemis Generation,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

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“It is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read. The Artemis Team astronauts are the future of American space exploration — and that future is bright.”

The astronauts on the Artemis Team come from a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise, and experience. The agency’s 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.

NASA said it will announce flight assignments for astronauts later, pulling from the Artemis Team. The US space agency said that additional Artemis Team members, including international partner astronauts, will join this group, as needed. Chari joined the astronaut corps in 2017. A colonel in the US Air Force, he was raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa.


The Artemis Team astronauts are the future of American space exploration. Wikimedia commons

He received a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics. The US Naval Test Pilot School graduate worked on F-15E upgrades and then the F-35 development program, before coming to NASA. His father Sreenivas V. Chari immigrated from Hyderabad.

“We are incredibly grateful for the president and vice president’s support of the Artemis program, as well as the bipartisan support for all of NASA’s science, aeronautics research, technology development, and human exploration goals,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: भारत-चीन संबंध खराब होने की वजह का भारत ने किया खुलासा

“As a result, we’re excited to share this next step in exploration — naming the Artemis Team of astronauts who will lead the way, which includes the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface.”

The astronauts of the Artemis Team 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.

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“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. “Walking on the lunar surface would be a dream come true for any one of us, and any part we can play in making that happen is an honor.”

The Artemis Team members also include Joseph Acaba, Kayla Barron, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Warren Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Hammock Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole A. Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins, and Stephanie Wilson. (IANS)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)