The mission will also include the first person of color and the first Canadian on a lunar mission, making it diverse and inclusive.
During an event held at Ellington Field, near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston on April 3, NASA announced the crew members for the highly-anticipated Artemis II mission to the moon. The announcement was made in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
The Artemis II mission is a significant milestone in NASA's ambitious plan to return humans to the moon by 2024, reported PEOPLE. The selected crew members will undergo extensive training and preparation to ensure the mission's success. This announcement has generated excitement and anticipation among space enthusiasts around the world.
NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson, said in an official press release: "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." The selected crew includes NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Hammock Koch and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen. Humans will be traveling to the vicinity of the moon for the first time in over half a century as part of this mission.
Director Vanessa E. Wyche from NASA Johnson Space Center said, "Among the 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. 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."
Meet the first member of our #Artemis II Moon crew: mission specialist @Astro_Christina!— NASA (@NASA) April 3, 2023
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
BREAKING: NASA has just announced the four astronauts flying around the moon on the Artemis II space mission. The diversity of the astronauts on this mission is awesome.— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) April 3, 2023
We have Christina Koch who took part in the first ever all-woman spacewalk. She will become the first woman… pic.twitter.com/JOwHut8OpN
According to NASA, the crew will collaborate as a team to perform a series of ambitious demonstrations during the lunar flyby. The 10-day mission, similar to the successful uncrewed Artemis I mission that concluded in December, aims to pave the way for future extended human exploration missions to the moon, and eventually Mars.
The first woman on a lunar mission, Koch, has previously been in space as a flight engineer aboard the space station for Expeditions 59, 60 and 61. She also set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman after she spent 328 days in space. Furthermore, she was part of the first all-female spacewalks.
Our #Artemis II pilot is @AstroVicGlover!— NASA (@NASA) April 3, 2023
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
For the first person of color on a lunar mission, Glover, this will be his second spaceflight as he served as a pilot on NASA's SpaceX Crew-1, which spent 128 days in space before landing back on Earth on May 21, 2021. Director of Flight Operations Norm Knight, NASA Johnson, said, "I could not be prouder that these brave four will kickstart our journeys to the moon and beyond. They represent exactly what an astronaut corps should be: a mix of highly capable and accomplished individuals with the skills and determination to take on any trial as a team."
Hensen, the first Canadian on a lunar mission, will be on his first spaceflight with this mission. Knight added, "The Artemis II mission will be challenging, and we'll test our limits as we prepare to put future astronauts on the Moon. With Reid, Victor, Christina and Jeremy at the controls, I have no doubt we're ready to face every challenge that comes our way."