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First Person Of Color To Set Foot On The Moon Under NASA's Artemis Program

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The first person of color will land on the moon under the Artemis program, NASA announced on April 9.

The space agency had already pledged to land the "first woman and next man" on the lunar surface within five years when it announced the Artemis program under President Trump in 2019.

The new goal for the program comes from the Biden-Harris administration, which proposes to fund the agency at $24.7 billion, a 6.3 percent increase from the previous year.

"[The funding] keeps NASA on the path to landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon under the Artemis program," acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement.

The Artemis program's first mission, Artemis I, is expected to be launched in November 2021, but will not include a crew. Artemis II will be a crewed flyby of the moon in August 2023. And Artemis III will send astronauts to the lunar south pole in October 2024.

The first cadre of astronauts for the Artemis program were announced in December, but the first two crew members for Artemis III have yet to be announced.

The initial group of 18 Artemis astronauts, including three from Southern California, presents a diverse team of astronauts, including those new to NASA and veterans of spaceflight.

"These are historic moments in advancing equity for all of humankind," says Bhavya Lal, acting NASA chief of staff. "Women and people of color represent a significant contributing portion of all facets of NASA's workforce, and the last two astronaut classes selected have included the highest percentage of women in history."

Only 12 people -- all Americans and all white men -- have ever stepped foot on the moon. Those dozen astronauts walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972 as part of NASA's Apollo program.


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