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NASA announces the names for the Artemis II mission around the Moon

Updated: Apr 4

NASA’s First Flight With Crew Important Step on Long-term Return to the Moon, Missions to Mars

The crew of NASA’s Artemis II mission (left to right): NASA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, Reid Wiseman (seated), Victor Glover, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen. Credits: NASA

In an official ceremony held today, April 3, 2023, NASA announced the names of the four astronauts on the Artemis II mission, which will enter lunar orbit on a flight that has not been made for 50 years, since Apollo 17 ended the project. US manned lunar landing. The crew members are Reid Wiseman (Commander), Victor Glover (Pilot), Jeremy Hansen (Canadian, Mission Specialist) and Cristina Koch, Mission Specialist. The ceremony was hosted by the Chief of the Astronaut Corps, Joseph Acaba, with the presence of the Chief of Flight Operations Directorate, Norman Knight, the Director of the Johnson Space Center, Vanessa Wyche, and the representative of the Canadian Space Agency, Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

Wiseman, Glover, Hansen and Koch were the most quoted names since the selection processes began, and Wiseman had a very particular role in history. The flight is planned for 2024 to put the Orion spacecraft to the test in lunar orbit ahead of an attempted landing on the Artemis III mission. The only thing definitive was that the crew of Artemis II would consist of three Americans and one Canadian, according to terms consolidated in a 2020 treaty between the two countries. From the beginning, NASA stressed the need for the program to be named after Apollo's twin sister in Greek mythology, Artemis, and have a crew with a strong mix of "gender, racial and professional diversity." The space agency is working on a schedule imposed by the Trump administration, which required astronauts to return to the Moon by the end of 2024 using the SLS, an Orion and a commercially developed lunar module by SpaceX – which has yet to be built. Even before Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election, many observers considered the 2024 target date impossible to meet, due to the shortfall in funding for land development in congressional budget talks.

The space agency has a very diverse group. More than a third of Artemis' 41 astronauts are women and 12 are people of color. The generation is also diverse professionally, with just 16 riders in its ranks. The rest are “mission specialists” with backgrounds in biology, geography, oceanography, engineering and medicine. Nearly a dozen current and former space agency employees and astronauts had expected several test pilots to be assigned to Artemis II, as the mission marks the first manned test flight to the Moon since the Apollo program.

The astronauts were introduced by Chief Joe Acaba