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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vice-President Mike Pence is making the most of his time left as vice president and as head of the National Space Council.

Pence spoke at Cape Canaveral on Wednesday about new steps forward in NASA’s Artemis program to send Americans back to the moon, and the commissioning of new officers into the newly established Space Force.

Pence named 18 new astronauts that are joining NASA’s astronaut corps, which Pence said will likely include the first woman to walk on the moon.

“I give you the heroes who will carry us to the Moon and beyond – the Artemis Generation,” said Vice President Mike Pence. “It is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read.”

Pence called the Artemis corps of astronauts the “heroes of the future.” Most of them are current or ex-military members or scientists and engineers.

The vice president also underscored what he called the need for security in space. With that, he said 86 new cadets have stepped forward to become the first commissioned officers in the U.S. Space Force.

“We’ve continued to make steady progress towards renewed American leadership in space,” Pence said. “China and Russia are continuing to develop space weaponry. Russia demonstrated a space-based anti-satellite weapon earlier this year.”

He says space is a warfighting domain and urged those new officers to remain vigilant.