NASA Formally Announces Crew Members for 2024 Moon Mission


On April 3, 2023, NASA announced to the public the names of the astronauts that will be flying on the upcoming Artemis II mission.

NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen are set to be manning the mission as pictured above.

“The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity’s crew,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a NASA press release covering the announcement.

Artemis II, set to launch in 2024, will be the first crewed mission of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to bring humans back to the surface of the Moon for the first time since 1972 during the days of the Apollo era.

The flight will last 10 days and will circle the moon while testing out the crew capsule Orion’s life support systems and ensuring that crew members can work together efficiently in close quarters.

This time, the mission will be tad different in terms of goals and expected achievements. Rather than simply traveling to the moon for the sake of purely scientific ventures, the Artemis program aims to establish a long-term human presence on the moon by use of surface habitats, experiment packages and surface vehicles and rovers.

The program will also include a major technological development: a space station called Gateway placed into orbit around the moon. The first launch of the core components is not expected to commence until late 2024, but the idea creates an exciting prospect. Once completed, it will be the first space station placed in orbit around a celestial body other than Earth.

Artemis II, while it won’t land astronauts on the moon, will provide valuable information to engineers and scientists alike on how future missions, such as Artemis III, will be executed.

The mission is much like its predecessor the Apollo program in this way. Apollo 10, the mission that occurred a few months prior to the actual moon landing on Apollo 11, was designed as a “dress rehearsal mission,” where everything up until landing was performed by the crew. The same concept applies to the Artemis program, where Artemis II is the “dress rehearsal” before the actual landing mission is carried out on Artemis III.

Artemis II is already breaking ground with its diverse crew. Glover is expected to be the first black person to travel around the Moon and Koch is expected to be the first woman to travel around the moon.

Provided there are no delays, the launch is expected to occur sometime in November of 2024.