NASA names crew of Artemis II mission

On April 3, NASA announced the crew of the next manned mission to the moon. While the crew will just be doing a lunar orbit, they will be the first in over 50 years to travel beyond low orbit around Earth.

The Artemis II mission is NASA’s first mission with a crew that will utilize their Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft. The goal of the mission is to confirm all of the spacecraft’s systems are working as intended with a crew in the environment of deep space. The mission looks to pave the way for future lunar surface missions and establish long-term lunar science and exploration capabilities. NASA has dubbed the astronauts in these missions “The Artemis Generation.”

A crew of four will be on the 10-day Artemis II mission. The commander for the mission will be NASA Astronaut G. Reid Wiseman. During his 165-day mission on the International Space Station, Wiseman served as Flight Engineer and spent time with his crew researching human physiology, medicine, physical science, Earth science, and astrophysics. Wiseman spent almost 13 hours of spacewalking on that mission, his first spaceflight. He previously served as the Chief of the Astronaut Office. Notably, Wiseman has a sizable social media presence on Twitter, where he posts pictures of his missions.

NASA Astronaut Victor J. Glover, Jr. will be serving as the pilot and second-in-command of the Artemis II mission. While serving as a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate in 2013, Glover was selected as an astronaut. Recently, he served as pilot and second-in-command on the Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon named Resilience. It landed May 2, 2021. Previously, Glover served as Flight Engineer on the International Space Station. He has completed a total of 168 days in orbit and participated in four spacewalks.

NASA Astronaut Christina H. Koch will be serving as Mission Specialist I during the Artemis II mission. Serving in Expeditions 59, 60, and 61 on the International Space Station, Koch holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman with a total of 328 days in space. She also participated in the first all-female spacewalks.

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen will be joining the Artemis II mission as the first Canadian (and non-American) to travel to space. In 2017, Hansen became the first Canadian to be entrusted with leading a NASA astronaut class, meaning he trained astronaut candidates from the U.S. and Canada. This will be Hansen’s first spaceflight.

The Artemis II mission is currently planned to launch in November 2024. Some speculate that the need to recycle and refurbish components from Orion’s Artemis I flight may push the launch to later in 2024 or the first quarter of 2025.