First woman and first black man on a lunar mission
NASA, the American space agency, revealed on Monday (3) the names of the four astronauts of the Artemis II mission which will fly around the Moon in 2024 (see more in the video above).
- Jeremy R. Hansen – role: mission specialist; is a colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the first Canadian chosen for a flight to the Moon;
- Victor Glover – function: pilot; is a United States Navy aviator and veteran of four spacewalks;
- Christina Hammock Koch – role: mission specialist; she’s an engineer who already holds the record for the longest continuous spaceflight by a woman and was one of NASA’s first three female spacewalkers;
- Reid Wiseman – Position: Commander, is a former US Navy fighter pilot.
There are three men and one woman. Among them, a black man. Astronaut Christina Hammock Koch will be the first woman to go on a mission around the Moon organized by NASA. Victor Glover will be the first black man.
This crew will also be the first to go to the Moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972, more than half a century ago.
However, this time, these astronauts still have NO will land on the natural satellite.
The three NASA astronauts chosen for the Artemis 2 mission are veterans of previous expeditions aboard the International Space Station.
Canadian Hansen is a relative newcomer to spaceflight, according to Reuters.
“This mission will carry more than astronauts. It will bring hope to millions of people around the world,” said NASA Chief Executive Bill Nelson.
For now, according to space agency sources heard by AFP, the launch date is scheduled for November 2024. Previous estimates indicated the beginning of the year, but due to the various delays of the first mission , this is a more realistic date.
The four astronauts will take off aboard NASA’s SLS rocket – the most powerful in the world – and travel aboard the Orion capsule, attached to the top of the rocket. The capsule will detach once in space and take them to the Moon, but without landing.
“For the first time in over 50 years, these individuals – the crew of Artemis II – will be the first humans to fly near the Moon. The crew are the first female, first black person and first Canadian to participate in a lunar mission, and the four astronauts will represent the best of humanity as they explore for the benefit of all,” said NASA Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche.
“This mission paves the way for the expansion of human exploration of deep space and presents new opportunities for scientific, commercial, industrial and academic partnerships and the Artemis generation,” he added.
When are we going to land on the moon again?
The feat of landing on the Moon again will be reserved for Artemis III, which will be the space agency’s first manned mission to land on our natural satellite since 1972. NASA intends to make history with the program and make land the first woman and the first non-white person on the lunar surface.
To make it all work, however, NASA is now evaluating the most diverse data from Artemis I, flown last year, uncrewed.
It is this information that will help NASA understand what future living astronauts will experience on an eventual manned mission.
While the Artemis missions are primarily aimed at exploring our natural satellite, NASA’s long-term goals are even more ambitious. Going forward, the agency hopes the program will contribute to the development of astronomical science that will enable human exploration of Mars.
NASA explains that lunar missions provide a perfect opportunity to test tools, equipment and technologies that can be useful during a manned trip to the red planet.
But that’s something that shouldn’t happen until the end of the next decade, at best.
(VIDEO: Remember how Orion landed in December last year.)
Artemis I: NASA’s new lunar mission capsule lands in the Pacific Ocean
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