Cape Canaveral (US), Dec 10: NASA has named the 18 astronauts half of them women who will train for its Artemis moon-landing programme.

The first woman and next man on the moon will come from this elite group.

Vice President Mike Pence introduced the astronauts on Wednesday at the close of his final meeting as chairman of the National Space Council. The announcement was made at Florida's Kennedy Space Centre, beneath one of only three remaining Saturn V moon rockets from the 1960s and 1970s Apollo programme.

My fellow Americans, I give you the heroes of the future who will carry us back to the moon and beyond, the Artemis generation, Pence told the small crowd, seated several feet apart from one another.

Five of the astronauts, the only ones in attendance walked onto the stage, waving and wearing masks.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stressed there would be more astronauts joining the group. NASA has 47 active astronauts.

The space agency is aiming for a moon landing by 2024, although the chances of that happening are growing increasingly dim. The upcoming change in administration also adds uncertainty.

Half of the NASA astronauts have spaceflight experience. Two are at the International Space Station right now: Kate Rubins and Victor Glover.

The two astronauts who performed the world's first all-female spacewalk last year made the cut: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.

It's a fairly young group, with most in their 30s or 40s. The oldest is 55, the youngest 32. Only two Joe Acaba and Stephanie Wilson flew on NASA's old space shuttles.

The other experienced members on the list include Kjell Lindgren, Anne McClain and Scott Tingle, both former space station residents.

Among those yet to rocket into space: Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Woody Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Nicole Mann, Jasmin Moghbeli, Frank Rubio and Jessica Watkins.

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New Delhi (PTI): Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu joined the sit-in protest of Delhi guest teachers demanding regularisation of their jobs outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence in Civil Lines on Sunday.

Last month, Kejriwal had joined the contractual teachers in Punjab's Mohali, who staged a protest making a similar demand.

In the run up to the Punjab polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener has announced a slew of sops for different sections of society, including teachers. Among the assurances are regularising contractual teachers and revamping the education system in the state if voted to power.

Punjab goes to polls in early 2022 and the AAP is not leaving any stone unturned to make a decisive presence in the border state.

Hitting out at Kejriwal, Sidhu said the Delhi government was following a contractual model of education.

Delhi Education Model is Contract Model Delhi Govt has 1031 Schools while only 196 schools have Principals 45% teacher's posts are vacant and schools are run by 22,000 Guest Teachers on daily wages with every 15 days renewal of contracts, Sidhu alleged in a tweet.

The Punjab Congress chief said that there were 12,515 job vacancies for teachers in Delhi in 2015, but in 2021, the number had shot up to 19,907.

He said the AAP government had been filing up the vacant posts by hiring guest lecturers.

AAP promised to regularise contractual teachers give equal wages as permanent staff but made it worse by just having guest teachers. Through School Management Committees, so called AAP volunteers earn Rs 5 Lac yearly from Govt funds that earlier were meant for school's development, Sidhu's another tweet read.