NASA has revealed the crew for its upcoming Artemis II mission, which will mark the agency’s first manned moon voyage in over 50 years. The team includes the first woman, the first person of colour, and the first Canadian assigned to a lunar mission. The four-member crew comprises Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch, and Jeremy Hansen, who will crew the 10-day flight scheduled for 2024. The mission is part of the multinational Artemis programme, which aims to establish a long-term presence on the moon and expand human deep space exploration.
The Artemis II mission will loop around the moon in preparation for future landings. The crew members were chosen from a pool of 41 active astronauts, with the US crew comprising three veterans of space travel: Wiseman, Glover, and Koch. All three will be making their second trip into space with the Artemis flight. Koch holds the record for the longest single spaceflight conducted by a woman and participated in the first all-female spacewalks. Glover is set to become the first person of colour to participate in a moon voyage. Wiseman has served as flight engineer on the International Space Station, spending 165 days in orbit and logging nearly 13 hours as a lead spacewalker.
The Americans are joined by the first Canadian astronaut to join a lunar flight, Jeremy Hansen. The Ontario-born former fighter pilot will be making his first trip into space after a career that includes time as a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces. Hansen praised “Canada’s can-do attitude” for allowing him to join the mission, as well as the “passion to collaborate” across borders.
While their voyage will not include a moon walk, the Artemis II trip will take them 370,000km beyond the Earth’s surface, marking the closest lunar approach since the Apollo 17 mission. While in space, the four astronauts will demonstrate manoeuvres and test the life-support systems aboard the partially reusable Orion spacecraft, a capsule designed for manned flight. If their mission proves successful, NASA plans to launch a third Artemis flight, which is slated to include a landing on the moon’s surface.
The Artemis programme is a joint initiative between American, Canadian, Japanese, and European aerospace agencies. Its first unmanned mission began in November 2022 after several months of delays. It successfully completed two lunar flybys before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
NASA said the lessons of the upcoming Artemis flights would help the agency prepare for its “next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars”. The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreams—the Artemis Generation.