NASA has selected four astronauts to embark on an historic mission around the moon before returning to the lunar surface.
Artemis II will see crew members board Orion spacecraft carried by the Space Launch System rocket (SLS), the strongest rocket ever built, for a flyby Earth’s only natural satellite.
The American astronauts Christina Koch and Victor Glover, as well as Canadian spaceman Jeremy Hansen, are part of the team.
Koch will be the first female astronaut to go on a lunar mission. Glover will be the first astronaut of color.
“This is an important day – there’s a lot to celebrate, and it’s so more than the four names that were announced,” said Mr Glover, a US naval pilot who was chosen as the Artemis II pilot.
Ms. Koch, an engineer holds the record for longest continuous spaceflight by women and was named mission specialist.
Hanson is the first Canadian ever to fly to the moon.
NASA’s Bill Nelson stated that the Artemis II crew is made up of thousands of people who work tirelessly to get us to the stars. This is their crew. This is our crew.
NASA is aiming to send the first person of colour and woman on the moon with Artemis III. This will be in 2025.
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This 10-day mission is the first crewed step in the Artemis programme. It began last November with and was a voyage without anyone aboard to see if Orion or SLS were up to the task.
The Orion was sent on the next-generation multibillion-dollar rocket to make a 1.4-million-mile trip beyond the moon.
Artemis II is scheduled for 2024 and will continue to put the hardware through its paces, particularly Orion’s life support systems.
It will launch humans into space faster than any other programme since Apollo, the last program to place man on the Moon.
Apollo 17 was the longest lunar landing ever recorded, taking place between 7th and 19th December 1973.
The US space agency plans to use Artemis for a base camp, annual missions, and as a test bed to further ambitious quests such as sending a human to Mars.
NASA selected the lucky four from among 41 astronauts. Four of these four candidates were Canadian.