NASA Just Announced the Historic Crew for the Artemis II Moon Mission
These are the four astronauts who will venture to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo missions.
Victor Glover, a NASA astronaut since 2013, is set to become the first Black astronaut to fly to the Moon, NASA announced Monday. In a press announcement, the space agency revealed the four astronauts who will be part of the Artemis II mission, which will travel to the Moon and back, the farthest from Earth any human has traveled. The trip could happen as early as next year.
Glover will fly around the Moon and back with Canadian mission specialist Jeremy Hansen, NASA mission specialist Christina Hammock Koch, and NASA commander Reid Wiseman on a 10-day flight. The launch is currently set to happen via a mega-rocket similar to the one that roared into space on November 16, 2022. Artemis II will be NASA’s first crewed return to the Moon in more than half a century.
The trip, currently scheduled for 2024 at the earliest, will take them 6,479 miles beyond the far side of the Moon. This means that, for a moment on the flight, the Moon will be closer to Earth than these four astronauts will be by roughly the distance between New York City and Tokyo.
NASA says its daring flight will “pave the way to land the first woman and next man on the Moon” for the next chapter of the Artemis program, Artemis III, which will be the first time humans have been on the Moon since the Apollo missions.
NASA made the highly-anticipated crew announcement from Ellington Field at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Monday morning. Joe Acaba, chief of NASA’s astronaut office, welcomed the entire Artemis team of astronauts, a group of 18 selected to be part of the Artemis missions. He then announced the team of four people that would become the Artemis II crew.
Bill Nelson, NASA’s Administrator, said at the conference that the Artemis II crew represents thousands of people bringing us “to the stars.”
“We’re going to hear the words, ‘go for launch’, on the top of the most powerful rocket,” new Artemis II crew member Christina Hammock Koch said at the press conference before describing the flight details, including the unprecedented speeds at which the Orion crew capsule will enter Earth’s atmosphere.
“To the astronauts that are over here, a huge thank you. I want to highlight there are seven folks on the International Space Station orbiting our planet right now... if you are looking for heroes today, Google these folks,” Reid Wiseman, one of the newly named Artemis II crew members, said at the press conference. Wiseman served as a flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 41, a 165-day mission in 2014, according to NASA’s website.
“This is a big day. We have a lot to celebrate. And it’s so much more than the four names announced. We need to celebrate this moment in history,” Glover said at the conference.
Artemis II will set the groundwork for the first lunar landing of the program, called Artemis III. NASA leadership has said these missions will incrementally bring astronauts farther from Earth and for longer periods of time, perhaps eventually setting up a base on the Moon. NASA has said these trips could be preparations to accomplish their ambitious goal to send humans to Mars.