NASA announces astronauts for Artemis II


Artemis II flies by Moon phot

Kilian Schlager, Staff Writer

It has been over half a century since humanity last ventured to the moon, and on April 3, 2023, NASA revealed the astronauts who would take us there once again. In November of 2024 Artemis II is set to launch for the first crewed mission of the Orion spacecraft, and the first lunar flyby since 1972. On board will be astronauts: Reid Wiseman, Commander; Victor Glover, Pilot; Christina Hammock Koch, Mission Specialist; and Jeremy Hansen, Mission Specialist. As a Canadian, Jeremy Hansen will be the first non-American to travel out of low Earth orbit, and Christina Koch the first woman to do so. 

The Apollo missions that first brought mankind to the moon throughout the late 1960s to the early 1970s marked one of the greatest achievements of the U.S. and the world at large. With the final Apollo mission, Apollo 17, launching in 1972, it would be another 40 years, 2012, until the Artemis missions would even be proposed and another five years after that, 2017, until the Artemis program would officially be created. 

The Artemis I represents the first stage of mankind’s return to the moon. Launched on 24 November, 2022, it performed a 25-day lunar flyby which served to test new systems such as the Orion spacecraft. This means that while Artemis I did not land on the moon, it performed a critical step of the eventual landing; entering lunar orbit. From there it circled around the moon and returned to Earth, proving to be a great success.

The mission that will be flown by the astronauts on the Artemis II will in many regards be similar to that of the Artemis I with one major difference. The Artemis II will be manned. This means that the Orion spacecraft will, for the first time ever, be tested to its full capabilities outside of low Earth orbit. The gateways that a successful mission flown by the Artemis II would open are, as said by BHS student Alex Vaccaro, “really just crazy to think about”.  Should the Artemis II mission return as much a success as seen with the Artemis I, then a launch date of December 2025 for the Artemis III, the mission that will bring mankind back to the lunar surface, is more than feasible.