June 6, 2023

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Artemis II: The four astronauts selected by NASA for the moon mission

(CNN) The astronauts who will lead the first manned lunar mission in five decades were revealed Monday, queuing up from the quartet to begin training for the historic Artemis II lunar flight that is scheduled to take off in November 2024.

The astronauts are Reed Wiseman of NASA and Victor Glover, Christina Koch, and Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency.

A wise man He is a decorated 47-year-old naval pilot and test pilot who was first selected to be a NASA astronaut in 2009. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, he has completed one previous spaceflight, a 165-day trip to the International Space Station that has been completed. launching aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket in 2014. Most recently, Weisman served as chief of the Cosmonaut Office before stepping down in November 2022, which qualified him for a flight mission.

Weisman will serve as the Artemis II mission commander.

Hansen, 47, is a fighter pilot who was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to train astronauts in 2009. From London, Ontario, Hansen is one of four active Canadian astronauts, and he recently became the first Canadian put in charge of training a new class of astronauts. NASA astronauts.

He will be the first Canadian to travel to deep space.

Glover He is a 46-year-old naval pilot who returned to Earth from his first spaceflight in 2021 after Commanding the second crewed flight of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and spend nearly six months aboard the International Space Station.

“It’s a lot more than the four names announced,” Glover said during Monday’s announcement at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We need to celebrate this moment in human history… It is the next step in the journey that will take humanity to Mars.”

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Born in Pomona, California, Glover served in several squadrons in the United States and Japan in the 2000s, and completed test pilot training with the US Air Force. When he was selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2013, he was serving in the United States Senate as a Legislative Fellow. All told, Glover has logged 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft, captured more than 400 carrier landings and 24 combat missions.

Glover’s first mission to space was as part of the SpaceX Crew-1 team, which blasted off to the International Space Station in November 2020 for a six-month stay in the orbiting laboratory.

hutAt 44, he’s a veteran of six spacewalks — including The first all-female spacewalk in 2019. She holds the record for the longest solo spaceflight by a woman, totaling 328 days in space. Koch is also an electrical engineer who has helped develop science instruments for multiple NASA missions. Koch, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, also spent a year at the South Pole, a grueling stay that could prepare her well for the intensity of the moon mission.

about this task

The Artemis II mission will build on Artemis I, and Unmanned test mission That sent NASA’s Orion capsule on a 1.4-million-mile journey around the moon that ended in December. The space agency has deemed this mission a success and is still reviewing all of the data collected.

Crew members of the Artemis II lunar flyby mission include (from left): NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Reed Wiseman (front), and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen.
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If all goes as planned, Artemis II will lift off around November 2024. Tethered inside the Orion spacecraft, the crew members will launch atop a NASA-developed Space Launch System rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The flight is expected to last about 10 days and will send the crew beyond the moon, possibly farther than any human being in history has traveled, though the exact distance has yet to be determined.

“The exact distance beyond the moon will depend on the day of liftoff and the moon’s relative distance from Earth at the time of the mission,” NASA spokeswoman Katherine Hambleton said via email.

After orbiting the Moon, the spacecraft will return to Earth to land in the Pacific Ocean.

Artemis II is expected to pave the way for the Artemis III mission later this decade, which NASA has pledged to put the first woman and person of color on the moon. It will be the first time humans have landed on the moon since the Apollo program ended in 1972.

The Artemis III mission is expected to launch later this decade. But much of the technology the mission will require, incl space suits To walk on the moon and Lunar lander To carry astronauts to the lunar surface, it is still under development.

NASA is targeting 2025 launch date As for Artemis III, though, the space agency’s inspector general has already said that delays will likely push the mission to 2026 or later.

The space agency has been striving to return people to the moon for more than a decade. The Artemis program is designed to pave the way for a permanent lunar base, allowing astronauts to live and work deeper in space in the long term as NASA and its partners chart a course for sending the first humans to Mars.

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Choose the astronauts

Vanessa Wycchi, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, declined to provide details to CNN about Selection process. But she stressed the diversity of the Artemis II crew, which includes men and women and not just a crew of white test pilots as has been the case for historic missions in the past.

“I can tell you, they still all have the right stuff,” said Wyche. “We have different requirements than we had (when) we just had test pilots” Inaugural missions.

Koch said in an interview with CNN’s Ed Lavandera that the group found out they were cast a few weeks ago.

“We were all sent to a meeting that was on our calendar under a different pretext that didn’t sound as lofty as the meeting that was going to happen,” Koch said. By chance, two of us were late for that meeting.

She said the show left her “speechless”.

“It is really an honor,” she added. “It’s an honor—not to put myself in space—but because it’s amazing to be part of this team that’s going back to the Moon and then to Mars.”

An interview with the four astronauts will air on “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday, beginning at 6 a.m. ET.

CNN’s Kristen Fisher contributed to this story.