3 astronauts from SoCal are training for NASA’s moon-landing program

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Victor Glover, Joseph Acaba and Jonny Kim appear in portraits released by NASA.

Victor Glover, Joseph Acaba and Jonny Kim appear in portraits released by NASA.

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NASA this week named 18 astronauts who will train for the first moon-landing program since 1972, and three of them are from Southern California.

Victor Glover from Pomona, Joseph Acaba from Anaheim and Jonny Kim from Los Angeles join others in forming the Artemis Team, which aims to send the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024.

Two other Californians, Nicole Mann of Petaluma and Kate Rubins of Napa, were selected as part of the team. NASA said it will pull astronauts from the program for flight assignments at a later date.

Glover made history in November as the first Black astronaut to arrive at the International Space Station for an extended mission.

The Navy commander was born in Pomona and graduated from Ontario High School. He then earned an engineering degree from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo before getting three master’s degrees between 2007 and 2010.

Acaba was born in Inglewood and raised in Anaheim, where he attended Esperanza High School and where his parents, who came from Puerto Rico, still live.

He went on to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara for a geology degree and later earned his master’s in geology and education. He taught middle and high school students in Florida before joining NASA. He’s the first astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage, according to the city of Anaheim.

Kim was born and raised in Los Angeles to Korean-American immigrants. He attended Santa Monica High School before enlisting in the Navy and later graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of San Diego and a doctorate of medicine from Harvard Medical School.

Before the Navy lieutenant became an astronaut, he worked as an emergency doctor in Massachusetts.

“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 in a statement. “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. I am proud of this particular group of men and women and know that any of them would do an outstanding job representing NASA and the United States on a future Artemis mission.”

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