NASA has revealed the four astronauts who will take part in its upcoming Artemis II mission around the moon, scheduled for late 2024. The spaceflight will carry three Americans and one Canadian: Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch from NASA, and Jeremy Hansen from the Canadian Space Agency. Wiseman is the mission’s commander, and Glover is the pilot, while Hansen and Koch are mission specialists. Artemis II follows the uncrewed Artemis I, which completed a nearly month-long journey around the moon last year.
Artemis II will launch on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket with the Orion capsule carrying the astronauts on a 10-day journey to the moon and back. While it will not land on the moon, the spacecraft will make a near pass above the surface and demonstrate the Orion spacecraft’s ability to transport people safely. The Artemis program represents a series of missions with escalating goals. The third, tentatively scheduled for 2025, has the goal of returning astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo era.
NASA’s Artemis program aims to take humans back to the moon, with the eventual goal of creating a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. The Artemis program is part of NASA’s broader plans for deep space exploration and the eventual human exploration of Mars. NASA also plans to work with commercial partners in its Artemis program to achieve these goals.
The Artemis program is considered key to advancing US space exploration and competing with other countries like China. A key challenge for NASA is securing funding for the program, which has faced various delays, including with the Space Launch System rocket. By announcing the crew for Artemis II, NASA is signaling its continued commitment to the program and the goal of returning to the moon.