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Baldwin native could be first woman on the moon

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Baldwin native Jasmin Moghbeli could become the first woman to step foot on the Moon.

NASA recently selected 18 astronauts from its corps to form the Artemis Team and pave the way for the next astronaut missions on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

The members of the Artemis Team, according to a NASA news release, were introduced during the National Space Council meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 9.

After completing more than two years of basic training, Moghbeli, along with her fellow candidates, graduated from the program in January and became eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.

The NASA candidates were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. Moghbeli was selected and joined the Astronaut Candidate Class in 2017.

The New York native was born in Germany but considers Baldwin her hometown. She attended Lenox Elementary School, later graduated from Baldwin Senior High School and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

She is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School and has accumulated more than 1,600 hours of flight time and 150 combat missions.

At the time of her selection in 2017, Moghbeli was testing H-1 helicopters and serving as the quality assurance and avionics officer for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 of the U.S. Marine Corps in Yuma, Ariz.

She has been awarded four Air Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals and various unit commendations as well as other awards and recognitions.

NASA’s modern lunar exploration program will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024, according to the release, and establish a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade.

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

“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,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “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. They also will engage the public and industry on the Artemis program and NASA’s exploration plans.

Compiled by Bridget Downes.