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NASA unveils 4-member crew for historic Artemis II moon mission

Published : 04 Apr 2023, 01:23

  DF News Desk
Photo of 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. Photo: NASA via Xinhua.

NASA on Monday announced a 4-member crew for its Artemis II moon mission, the first crewed flight that paves the way for future lunar surface missions, reported Xinhua.

The four astronauts are: Victor Glover, Christina Koch and Reid Wiseman of NASA, and Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency.

During Artemis II, the four astronauts will fly around the moon to test NASA's foundational human deep space exploration capabilities, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for the first time with crew.

The mission is currently scheduled for late 2024.

The crew will lift off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, blazing beyond Earth's grasp atop the agency's mega moon rocket.

Over the course of about two days, they will check out the Orion spacecraft's systems and perform a targeting demonstration test relatively close to Earth before beginning the trek toward the moon, according to NASA.

At their max distance, the crew will fly about 6,400 miles (10,240 kilometers) beyond the moon. During the approximate four-day return trip, the astronauts will continue to evaluate the spacecraft's systems, according to NASA.

The crew will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego when returning back to Earth.

The approximately 10-day flight test will pave the way for lunar surface missions, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the moon, said NASA.

Artemis II builds on the success of the uncrewed Artemis I which was launched on Nov. 16 2022. During the mission, engineers tested NASA's new mega moon rocket for the first time and pushed Orion to its limit to better understand how it operates in the harsh environment of deep space over the course of a 1.4-million mile (2.24-million kilometers) journey beyond the moon and back.

The uncrewed Orion moonship returned to Earth on Dec. 11, completing NASA's first test mission.

The primary goals for Artemis I are to demonstrate Orion's systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown and recovery before the crewed Artemis II mission, according to NASA.