NASA Names Astronauts For First Manned Lunar Mission Since Apollo

Joseph Iyanu
NASA announces Artemis 2 crew for first manned lunar mission since Apollo: Wiseman, Glover, Koch, and Hansen set to make history in 2024.
NASA Artermis 2 Crew: Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen . Photo: NASA

NASA has revealed the four astronauts who will form the Artemis 2 crew, signifying the first manned lunar mission since the Apollo program. Scheduled for launch in late 2024, this historic event represents a crucial step toward NASA’s goal of returning humans to the moon and eventually sending astronauts to Mars.

Introducing The Artemis 2 Crew And Nasa’s Vision

The Artemis 2 crew includes commander Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialists Christina Koch and Jeremy Hansen. 

Hansen, an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), will become the first non-American to leave Earth’s orbit and journey to the moon. The crew was presented on April 3 during an event at Ellington Field, situated near the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Overview Of The Artemis 2 Mission

During the 10-day Artemis 2 mission, the crew will not orbit or land on the moon but will instead follow a hybrid free return trajectory. 

Orion Approaching the Moon. Photo: NASA

Using its European-built service module, the Orion spacecraft will execute multiple maneuvers to elevate its orbit around Earth, eventually placing the crew on a lunar-free return trajectory. This path will enable Earth’s gravity to naturally pull the spacecraft back home after flying past the moon.

Mission Preparations And Testing

Before departing Earth’s orbit, the crew will make use of the Space Launch System (SLS) upper stage for proximity operations, assessing their ability to manually operate Orion. 

Kennedy Space Center. Photo: Ron Cogswell | Flickr

Additionally, they will test the spacecraft’s life support, communication, and navigation systems prior to their mission. 

At their nearest point, the Artemis 2 crew will approach within 6,479 miles (10,427 kilometers) of the lunar surface and traverse 6,400 miles (10,300 km) beyond the moon’s far side.

Progressing To The Artemis 3 Mission

The Artemis 2 mission will culminate with Orion splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, off California’s coast, where U.S. Navy ships and NASA teams will be prepared to recover both the crew and the spacecraft. 

Apollo Moon Landing. Photo: Manhhai | Flickr

A successful flight will lay the groundwork for Artemis 3, which aims to land humans on the lunar surface, including the first woman and the next American, at the moon’s south pole as soon as late 2025.

You can also read: Astronomers Discover One Of The Biggest Black Holes To Date

Astronaut Training And Selection Process

NASA will begin training sessions with the astronauts, both individually and in collaboration with the mission control team responsible for ground-based mission monitoring. In March, engineers completed the integration of all five major structures for the Artemis 2 SLS core stage. 

The Orion spacecraft, its European service module, the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS), and SLS solid rocket segments are already at the Kennedy Space Center, where they are being readied for flight or awaiting integration as part of the launch vehicle.

NASA Engineers at work. Photo: Global Panorama | Flickr

The four Artemis 2 crew members were chosen from the current active corps of 41 NASA astronauts and four CSA astronauts. The selection process was overseen by Joe Acaba, chief of the astronaut office; Norm Knight, head of the flight operations directorate; and Vanessa Wyche, director of the Johnson Space Center.

This highly anticipated mission marks a groundbreaking moment in space exploration.

In another recent discovery of space exploration, Scientists uncovered hidden oceans in the moons of Uranus.

International Collaboration And Future Missions

Hansen’s role in the Artemis 2 mission is part of the “Canada-U.S. Gateway Treaty,” an agreement between NASA and CSA that involves the Canadian agency overseeing and operating all external robotics required for the human-tended Gateway platform, which is yet to be constructed in lunar orbit. 

The treaty also encompasses a Canadian astronaut flying to the Gateway as part of a future Artemis mission’s crew.

This international collaboration highlights American leadership and emphasizes the importance of global teamwork in space exploration. 

The Artemis program not only signifies a new era of lunar missions but also marks humanity’s progress toward exploring Mars and venturing further into the cosmos.


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