NASA has announced the names of four astronauts who will take us back to the Moon, with one being the first Black man and another being the first female to do so.
After a 50-year gap, Victor Glover and Christina Koch will join Reid Wiseman and Jeremy Hansen to fly a capsule around the Moon either late next year or early 2025, according to the U.S. space agency.
NASA Announces First Black Man, First Female Astronauts To Fly To The Moon
While the four astronauts won’t technically land on the Moon, their mission will ultimately pave the way for a lunar landing by a crew in the near future.
The news of the three U.S. citizens and one Canadian being the next astronauts to make a trip to the Moon was revealed in a public ceremony in Houston, Texas.
All four will now start a period of intense physical training to prepare themselves for the upcoming lunar mission.
Our #Artemis II pilot is @AstroVicGlover!
Victor Glover is part of our 2013 class of @NASA_Astronauts and was the pilot for NASA’s @SpaceX Crew-1 mission. He’s logged 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft, and will pilot @NASA_Orion around the Moon. pic.twitter.com/P0zJ8pwaeL
— NASA (@NASA) April 3, 2023
NASA’s announcement of selecting a person of color and a woman is in line with the agency’s promise to have greater diversity in its space exploration efforts. All the previous lunar mission crews were made up solely of White men.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called the Artemis-2 crew “humanity’s crew.”
“The Artemis-2 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,” said Nelson.
Group Of Four Will Usher In “A New Era… A New Generation Of (Space) Exploration”
Nelson went on to say that the group of four “ushers in a new era… a new generation of exploration.”
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Meet the first member of our #Artemis II Moon crew: mission specialist @Astro_Christina!
Christina Koch visited the @Space_Station in 2019, where she took part in the first all-woman spacewalk. She began her career as an electrical engineer at @NASAGoddard. pic.twitter.com/mi82SayXUm
— NASA (@NASA) April 3, 2023
“Nasa astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen, each has their own story, but, together, they represent our creed: E pluribus unum – out of many, one. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers – the Artemis Generation.”
Crew Will Essentially Replicate 1968 Apollo 8 Mission, Journey Expected To Take About 10 Days
Glover, a Black man, will be the crew’s pilot, Wiseman will be the commander, while Koch and Hansen will serve as the supporting “mission specialists.”
The crew will essentially be repeating the 1968 Apollo 8 mission, which was the first human spaceflight to reach the Moon.
The last human spaceflight mission to the Moon was Apollo 17 in December 1972. The first landing was Apollo 11 in 1969.
The upcoming lunar journey will take about 10 days to go to and from the Moon.
NASA just announced former US Navy fighter pilots Reid Wiseman & Victor Glover, veteran astronaut Christina Koch, and rookie Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will crew the Artemis 2 mission to fly around the far side of the moon as soon as late next year. https://t.co/ulYtaEPPXx pic.twitter.com/CAddHApPDg
— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) April 3, 2023
Elon Musk’s SpaceX Currently Developing Technology To Take Astronauts Onto Lunar Surface
NASA does not yet have a system capable of taking astronauts onto the lunar surface, however that technology is currently being developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
The vehicle – called Starship – is set to begin flight testing in the coming weeks.
“Among the [Artemis-2] crew are the first woman, first person of color, and first Canadian on a lunar mission, and all four astronauts will represent the best of humanity as they explore for the benefit of all,” said Vanessa Wyche, the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center.
Wyche continued: “This mission paves the way for the expansion of human deep space exploration and presents new opportunities for scientific discoveries, commercial, industry and academic partnerships and the Artemis Generation.”