To all space enthusiasts here, there’s another unprecedented moment in human history for you!
On April 3, 2023, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency announced the four astronauts who will venture around the moon for the Artemis 2 mission.
Artemis 2 is the second scheduled flight of NASA’s Artemis program, a series of ongoing complex space missions that NASA will run to return astronauts to the lunar surface. It’s also the first scheduled crewed Artemis mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
On November 16, 2022, Artemis 1 was officially launched. But if you haven’t heard of this yet, you can read it here on KidzNet.
The four astronauts will be the first humans to be near the moon since the first human landing Apollo 17 mission in December 1972, more than 50 years ago. Imagine that!
Who are the Four Astronauts?
The selected team are NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Koch, and Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency. They make up the first crewed moon mission, which is scheduled to launch in November 2024.
Reid Wiseman will be the commander of the Artemis II mission. He’s a 47-year-old naval aviator from Baltimore, Maryland.
Wiseman also served as NASA’s chief astronaut from December 2020 to November 2022. On his previous missions, he spent 165 days in orbit at the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket in 2014.
Before joining NASA, Wiseman was also a fighter pilot that was deployed twice to the Middle East.
Victor Glover will be the pilot for the mission. He’s a 46-year-old naval aviator born in Pomona, California.
Glover was also the pilot of the first operational mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. He spent 168 days on the space station from November 2020 to May 2021. He’s also the first black crew member on the station.
Like Wiseman, Glover became a fighter pilot in several military squadrons in the United States and Japan in the 2000s.
Christina Hammock Koch
Christina Hammock Koch will be the lone woman on the crew as a mission specialist. She’s a 44-year-old electrical engineer born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
She worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where she helped develop scientific instruments for multiple robotic NASA missions.
Koch also holds the record for a woman’s longest single spaceflight, about 328 days. She was also the first ever all-female spacewalk outside the ISS in October 2019.
Among the four crew members, Koch is the veteran, with six spacewalks.
Along with Koch, Jeremy Hansen will be the mission specialist for Artemis 2. He is a 47-year-old colonel born in Ontario.
Hansen is also one of only four active Canadian astronauts and the first Canadian to train a new class of NASA astronauts. He was also a colonel and fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 2004 to 2009.
He will be the first-ever Canadian to travel to deep space, and this mission will be his first space flight.
The training for the mission will likely start during the summer of 2023, and will take about 18 months.
The four astronauts will fly around the moon on a 10-day mission before returning to Earth. They will be launched inside the Orion spacecraft atop a NASA-developed Space Launch System rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
During the mission, they will test the SLS and Orion’s spacecraft systems, life-support apparatus, and maneuvering capabilities.
The crew members will represent the best of humanity and the thousands of people working to bring people to space.
If Artemis 2 succeeds, this mission will pave the way for Artemis 3, which aims to put the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface. It will also mark the first time humans have landed on the moon since the Apollo program in 1972.
Artemis 2 will also help long-term human space exploration missions to the moon and Mars.
After Artemis 2, NASA is targeting the launch date for Artemis 3, which is expected to be in 2025. However, it will likely push to 2026 or later if there are delays.