Artemis II Crew is Picked for Manned Mission to the Moon

Artemis II Crew
Date: 03-29-2023 Location: Bldg 5, Orion Mockup Subject: Artemis II Crew Announcement products and still images of crew in Building 5s Orion Simulator. Photographer: James Blair

NASA has picked its team for the Artemis II mission, which the first step in its grand return to the Moon. Yesterday, NASA revealed the crew of four that will circle the moon on the 10-day Artemis II mission. Here is the Artemis II crew.

Reid Wiseman in Artemis II will serve as the mission’s commander. Wiseman is a member of the 2009 astronaut class, former chief of NASA’s astronaut office, and has spent 165 consecutive days aboard the ISS.

Victor Glover will helm the ship as a mission pilot. Glover is a former Navy aviator, has been a member of the astronaut corps since 2013, and piloted the Crew-1 mission to the ISS. Glover is the first Black person ever assigned to a lunar mission.

Christina Hammock Koch is one of two mission specialists aboard the flight. The first woman to nab a lunar mission assignment and the only professional engineer on the flight, Koch holds the record for longest continuous spaceflight by a woman at 328 days.

Jeremy Hansen rounds out the crew as a mission specialist and the first Canadian to be assigned to a lunar mission. Hansen worked as capcom at Canada’s Mission Control Center, and this will be his first space mission.

Now that they’ve received their assignments, the astronauts have time to consider what the mission means. “It occurs to me how important it is to have human eyes look back on Earth, seeing it as a small body in the window,” Koch told Payload in an interview. “Looking back on all of humanity and all of our billions and billions of friends—everything we know—I think is a really important perspective that I want to make sure to bring back to Earth.”

Artemis II Lunar Mission

The first crewed flight in the Artemis Moon-to-Mars era is scheduled to lift off no earlier than the end of 2024. Rather than touch down on the lunar surface, Artemis II will trace a figure eight that takes the crew aboard the Orion capsule 6,400 miles past the Moon at its furthest point.
“Artemis II  is the first of many crewed stepping stones to bring humans back to the Moon sustainably, responsibly, and then on to Mars,” said Koch. “This is the first time we are going to be testing out the life support system of the Orion space capsule and many other systems, communication, maneuverability for rendezvous and proximity operations. So many things to learn about, and we are going to be focused 100 percent on future missions.”