On Monday, NASA named the team of four astronauts who will launch on a critical test flight next year to slingshot around the moon. At an event held in Houston, the agency announced NASA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, as the crew for its upcoming Artemis II flight, slated to launch in 2024. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at the ceremony: “The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew. This is our crew This is humanity’s crew.”
The astronauts will be the first humans to fly in the vicinity of the moon in more than 50 years, and will also be the first to launch aboard NASA’s next-generation megarocket and Orion space capsule. The crew will not land on the moon but will swing around the celestial body, testing the performance of the Orion spacecraft, before returning to Earth. If their mission is successful, NASA has said that the subsequent Artemis III flight will touch down on the moon with a crew that will include the first woman and the first person of color to step foot on the lunar surface.
Artemis II will be the first fully crewed test flight as part of NASA’s efforts to return to the moon.
Wiseman will act as the commander of the Artemis II flight. A former naval aviator test pilot, he was selected to become a NASA astronaut in 2009. In 2014, he launched to the International Space Station on a 165-day mission as part of the Expedition 41 crew.
Glover, a former captain in the U.S. Navy, will be the mission’s pilot. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013 and previously flew on the second crewed flight of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the space station.
Koch and Hansen will serve as mission specialists on the Artemis II flight. Koch, who became an astronaut in 2013, set a record in 2020 for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, after spending a total of 328 days in space aboard the space station. During that mission, she also participated in the first all-female spacewalk.Hansen was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut in 2009. The former fighter pilot will be the first Canadian to venture to the moon.
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