For the first time in decades, humans are going to visit the Moon. Now, we know which humans. NASA has announced the crew for Artemis II, the first mission in the Artemis Program that will include astronauts on board the Orion capsule. While they won’t get to set foot on the lunar surface, Artemis II is a vital step toward establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon.
The crew for Artemis II consists of four astronauts, three from NASA and one from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). “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,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
The Artemis II commander will be NASA’s Reid Wiseman, who was previously in space as part of Expedition 41 on the International Space Station (ISS). He was a flight engineer on that 165-day mission, helping to complete over 300 scientific experiments before returning to Earth in 2014. He has a Master of Science in systems engineering and previously served as NASA’s Chief of the Astronaut Office.
The pilot’s seat will be occupied by Victor Glover, a NASA astronaut who previously served as pilot and second-in-command of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission, the first official launch of the NASA Commercial Crew program. He is an engineer, former naval aviator, and test pilot.
There will be two mission specialists on Artemis II, one of whom is NASA’s Christina Hammock Koch. This will be Koch’s second trip to space, following her time aboard the ISS during Expeditions 59, 60, and 61. Koch joined NASA as an engineering researcher before joining the astronaut program in 2013. While on the ISS, she participated in the first all-female spacewalk and set the record for the longest mission for a woman at 328 days. The other specialist will be Jeremy Hansen from the CSA. He has a background in physics and is a former fighter pilot.
NASA currently hopes to launch Artemis II in November 2024. The 10-day mission will see the crew travel around the Moon and back to Earth, setting the stage for Artemis III to conduct the first crewed lunar landing in more than 50 years. NASA has yet to announce the crew for that mission but has confirmed it will feature the first woman to set foot on the Moon.