On 3 April, US space agency Nasa and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon as part of the Artemis II mission, which is expected to launch sometime next year.
Christina Koch, 44, an engineer who already holds the record for longest continuous spaceflight by a woman and was part of NASA's first three all-female spacewalks, was named as a mission specialist for the Artemis II lunar flyby expected as early as next year, a Reuters report said.
She will be joined by Victor Glover, 46, a US Navy aviator and veteran of four spacewalks who NASA has designated as pilot of Artemis II. He will be the first Black astronaut ever to be sent on a lunar mission, the report adds. The other two members of the crew are Jeremy Hansen, a Royal Canadian Air Force colonel and first Canadian ever chosen for a flight to the moon, as a mission specialist, and Reid Wiseman, another former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, named as mission commander. Both are 47.
Nasa and the CSA revealed the crew members during an event at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Monday. The approximately 10-day Artemis II flight test will launch on Nasa's powerful Space Launch System rocket, prove the Orion spacecraft’s life-support systems, and validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space, a statement from Nasa said.
Artemis II would be the first crewed voyage around the moon in more than 50 years.
Who are the Artemis II astronauts?
The Artemis II flight, set to build upon the successful uncrewed Artemis I mission completed in December, will set the stage for the first woman and first person of color on the Moon through the Artemis program, Nasa said.
Christina Koch: Koch, 44, will be making her second flight into space on the Artemis II mission. She served as flight engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 59, 60, and 61. Koch set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman with a total of 328 days in space and participated in the first all-female spacewalks, the Nasa website said.
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
Victor Glover: Artemis II will be Glover’s second spaceflight, serving previously as pilot on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1, which landed May 2, 2021, after 168 days in space, Nasa said. As a flight engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 64, he contributed to scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, and participated in four spacewalks, the space agency added.
Reid Wiseman: The mission commander, Wiseman previously served as a flight engineer aboard the International Station for Expedition 41 from May through November 2014. Wiseman has logged more than 165 days in space, including almost 13 hours as lead spacewalker during two trips outside the orbital complex, Nasa added. Prior to his assignment, Wiseman served as chief of the Astronaut Office from December 2020 until November 2022.
Jeremy Hansen: Hansen, from Canada, is making his first flight to space. A colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and former fighter pilot, Hansen holds a Bachelor of Science in space science from Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, and a Master of Science in physics from the same institution in 2000, with a research focus on Wide Field of View Satellite Tracking.