HOUSTON, Texas (WHNT) — At NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Monday, the four astronauts who would be manning the first ‘moon crew’ in 50 years were introduced. The mission includes the first woman, person of color and Canadian to fly to the moon and back.
The four-person crew will be the first to fly NASA’s Orion capsule. NASA says that they will use new technology and Artemis missions to explore more lunar surfaces than ever.
The 10-day trip will be used to test the Orion spacecraft’s life support systems, and “validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space.”
Here are the four astronauts chosen to man the Artemis II mission:
The Artemis II mission will be mission commander Reid Wiseman’s second trip to space. In 2014, he worked as an engineer aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He maintained a social media presence to showcase what it is like ‘living’ in space. According to NASA.gov, Wiseman was among the crew on the ISS to complete a week of research in a record 82 hours.
Five-time Space Camp alum and ISS veteran Christina Koch will serve as a mission specialist and is the first woman to be on a ‘moon crew.’ Koch served as a flight engineer on the ISS for Expedition 59, 60 and 61. While in space, she set a record for the longest single space flight by a woman after spending a total of 328 days in space. Koch also participated in the first all-female spacewalk. She is a member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame, class of 2019.
Astronaut Victor Glover is a member of the astronaut class of 2013. He will be piloting the mission. In 2020, he became the first person of color to live on the ISS for a long-duration mission. SpaceX Crew 1 and Expedition 64 “was the first post-certification mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft – the second crewed flight for that vehicle,” says NASA. Glover was a flight engineer on that mission. According to the New York Times, only 14 out of a total of 300 astronauts that have been sent to space have been Black.
Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen is a member of the astronaut class of 2011 and worked at the Mission Control Center as CapCom, which is the voice between ground control and ISS. He is the first Canadian to lead a NASA astronaut class teaching candidates from the United States and Canada. Hansen is the first non-American to be on a ‘moon crew,’ and the first Canadian to orbit the moon. He will be an Artemis II mission specialist.
In an article from our news affiliate CBS, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “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.”
Following two Artemis test missions, NASA plans to put two astronauts on the moon with the Artemis III mission in 2025. This will mark humanity’s first return to the lunar surface in more than 50 years, and make history by sending the first set of humans to explore the lunar South Pole.