Four astronauts—three men and one woman—have been selected for the first crewed mission to the Moon in more than 50 years. As expected, the crew also features a Canadian, who will become the first non-U.S. citizen to venture past Earth orbit.
On Monday, NASA revealed the identities of the four-person crew for the Artemis 2 mission: NASA astronauts Victor Glover, who will serve as pilot for the mission, Christina Koch, Reid Wiseman as mission specialists, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen as mission commander. The four astronauts will ride on board the Orion capsule for a trip to the Moon scheduled for sometime in 2024.
The crew of astronauts was announced during a live event at NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas.
“We’ve made many giant leaps in the past 60 years, fulfilling [former U.S.] President [John F.] Kennedy’s goal of landing a person on the Moon and today, we stand on the shoulders of giants as we reach farther into the stars and push forward to the Moon once again and onto Mars,” Vanessa Wyche, director of the NASA Johnson Space Center, said during the event.
The four astronauts selected for Artemis 2 reflect NASA’s efforts to send a more diverse group to the Moon this time around. Koch set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman after spending a total of 328 days on board the International Space Station (ISS) for Expeditions 59, 60, and 61. The NASA astronaut also participated in the first all-female spacewalk, alongside astronaut Jessica Meir, in October 2019.
“The one thing I’m most excited about is that we are going to carry your excitement, your aspirations, your dreams with us on this mission,” Koch said while addressing the crowd at the event.
The mission pilot Glover became the first Black crew member to live on board the ISS as part of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission in November 2021, in which he served as the pilot. Artemis 2 will be Glover’s second time in space.
NASA astronaut Wiseman will also venture to space for the second time as part of Artemis 2, previously serving as a flight engineer on the ISS in 2014 and logging 165 days on board the space station.
Canada’s very own Hansen will be making his space debut for Artemis 2, becoming the first Canadian astronaut to travel beyond Earth orbit. The feat also makes Canada the second country after the U.S. to send an astronaut to the Moon.
NASA’s lunar program kicked off in November 2022, launching the Orion capsule for a 25-day trip to the Moon and back. Artemis 2 is the second mission, but will be the first to carry a crew of astronauts to the Moon since the days of Apollo.
The Artemis 2 astronauts will not land on the Moon, instead embarking on a 10-day day journey that will take them to the far side of the Moon at a distance of about 230,000 miles away from Earth. After a four-day return trip, the crew will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.
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