NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have revealed the names of the four astronauts who will lead the Artemis II Next Moon Mission mission, the first crewed mission in NASA’s plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon for scientific exploration. The crew comprises Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialists Christina Hammock Koch and Jeremy Hansen.
Artemis II marks the first mission with a crew on the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, the foundational deep space rocket for NASA. The mission’s goal is to test all systems’ functionality with a crew in deep space and pave the way for lunar surface missions, including by the first woman and the first person of color, while inspiring the next generation of explorers, The Artemis Generation.
The crew will launch from Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, taking off on an approximately 10-day mission to the Moon. They will perform a targeting demonstration test before departing for the Moon, where they will orbit around the far side of the Moon, creating a figure-eight extending more than 230,000 miles from Earth. The crew will fly approximately 6,400 miles beyond the Moon’s surface, evaluating the spacecraft’s systems during the journey.
During the approximately four-day return trip, the crew will continue to evaluate the spacecraft’s systems, harnessing the Earth-Moon gravity field for a fuel-efficient trajectory that will naturally pull the spacecraft back to Earth, without requiring additional propulsion.
After enduring high-speed, high-temperature reentry through Earth’s atmosphere, the crew will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, where they will be met by a recovery team of NASA and Department of Defense personnel.
Artemis II is a bold mission that aims to establish a long-term presence on the Moon for scientific exploration, while inspiring the next generation of explorers. The mission’s success will pave the way for future missions to the Moon and beyond, exploring the limits of deep space and scientific exploration.
The Artemis program represents a significant step forward for NASA and the international space community, with the goal of establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon by the end of the decade.
The program’s success will not only enable further scientific exploration and discovery but also open up new opportunities for commercial space companies to develop and expand their capabilities in deep space. Artemis II is a crucial milestone in this journey, and the selection of its crew represents a significant achievement for the program and the future of space exploration.
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