Nasa announces first Moon-bound astronauts since 1972 for Artemis 2 mission

Four astronauts are set to fly around the Moon in 2024

From left, astronauts Victor Glover, Jeremy Hansen, Christina Koch and Reid Wiseman. Photo: Nasa
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Nasa has revealed the names of four astronauts, including the first woman and black person, who will fly around the Moon next year for a 10-day mission.

Three American and one Canadian astronaut were named during an event in Houston, Texas, that was streamed live on Monday.

Reid Wiseman will serve as commander, Victor Glover will pilot the mission, Christina Koch and Canada's Jeremy Hansen will serve as mission specialists.

Ms Koch and Mr Glover will set history as the first woman and first black person, respectively, to go to the vicinity of the Moon. Mr Hansen will be the first non-American to fly to the Moon.

"This is the Artemis 2 mission. It's a mission that is significant in many ways. It's a demonstration of our ability to push the boundaries of human achievement," Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said at the event.

The mission follows the success of the uncrewed flight around the Moon that the US space agency completed last year.

The efforts are for the Artemis programme, which aims to build a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

No humans have been to the Moon, orbit or surface, since the last Apollo flight in 1972, when astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt walked on the lunar surface.

Now, there is a renewed interest in Moon missions, with Nasa hoping to have astronauts on the surface by the end of this decade, with further ambitions to send them from there to Mars.

Artemis 3 will be the first crewed lunar landing mission, which Nasa hopes will take place in 2025 and will include a woman and a person of colour.

The plan is to build a station called the Lunar Gateway in the Moon's orbit that astronauts would use as a base, before descending on to the surface using a lander built by SpaceX.

This upcoming flight will help Nasa measure the performance of the Orion spacecraft, including its communications and lift support systems, to determine whether it is ready to fly astronauts into the Moon's orbit and surface in 2025.

Artemis 2 crew to feature first black and female astronauts to visit the Moon

Artemis 2 crew to feature first black and female astronauts to visit the Moon

Meet the crew

Reid Wiseman, 47, was selected as a Nasa astronaut in 2009 and went on his first mission to the International Space Station in 2014 as a flight engineer.

He has logged more than 165 days in space, including almost 13 hours as lead spacewalker during two trips outside the orbital complex.

His most recent work has been as chief of Nasa's astronaut office.

This will be 46-year-old Victor Glover's second spaceflight. He served as pilot for Nasa's SpaceX Crew-1 mission in 2021, spending 168 days in space.

He helped in scientific investigations, technology demonstrations and participated in four spacewalks.

Christina Koch, 44, will also 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.

She 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 spacewalk.

This will be Jeremy Hansen's first spaceflight.

The 47-year-old was a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and former fighter pilot.

He has a bachelor of science in space science from the 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.

Mr Hansen is one of the four members in Canada's astronaut corps.

Updated: April 04, 2023, 7:59 AM