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  • NASA names first female and Black astronauts to go to moon in Artemis II mission


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    NASA has announced the four-person crew for the Artemis II mission, which will set the stage of the first woman and person of colour to step on the moon


    NASA has today announced the four astronauts who will travel round the moon on the next Artemis mission. The joint project between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will see three Americans and one Canadian taking flight.


    The team will be made up of Americans Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch and Reid Wiseman, along with Canadian Jeremy Hanson. It includes the first woman and first person of colour who will eventually go on to step onto the surface of the moon itself.


    An announcement was made at a media event at the NASA Johnson Space Center's Ellinton Field in Houston, Texas. People tuned in from around the world to watch the announcement.


    The Artemis II mission will be the first crewed mission on NASA's path to establish a long-term presence at the moon for science and exploration.

    Roles of crew members have also been announced. Reid Wiseman will be commander, Victor Glover as pilot, Christina Hammock Koch as mission specialist one and Jeremy Hansen as mission specialist two. The flight, expected to last around 10 days, will launch on the agency's Space Launch System rocket, prove the Orion spacecraft's life-support systems and also look into capabiulities and techniques necessary for humans to live and work in deep space.


    The flight will set the stage for the first woman and first person of colour on the moon through the Artemis program. It's hoped this expedition will pave the way for future long-term human exploration missions to the moon, and eventually Mars.



     This combination of photos shows, from left, astronauts Victor Glover, Jeremy Hansen, Christina Koch, and Reid Wiseman.

    ( Image: Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)


    Director of the Johnson Space Center, Vanessa Wyche, said: "For the first time in more than 50 years, these individuals- the Artemis II crew - will be the first humans to fly to the vicinity of the moon.


    "Among the crew are the first woman, first person of colour, and first Canadian on a lunar mission, and all four astronauts will represent the best of humanity as they explore for the benefit of all.


    "This mission paves the way for the expansion of human deep space exploration and presents new opportunities for scientific discoveries, commercial, industry and academic partnerships and the Artemis Generation."


    Astronaut Christina Koch has taken a giant leap towards becoming the first woman on the moon after being named as part of NASA’s Artemis II mission. Koch will be making her second space flight with Artemis II, having served as an engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 59, 60, and 61.



     NASA astronaut Christina Koch ( Image:
    NASA/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock)



     NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch in the hatch of the International Space Station and preparing to begin the historical first ever all female spacewalk

    (Image:NASA/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock)


    Koch also set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, with a total of 328 days in space, and participated in the first all-female spacewalks. She was named as part of a four-person crew alongside fellow Americans Victor Glover and Reid Wiseman as well as Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency.


    Making the announcement, director of the flight operations directorate Norm Knight told Koch: “Your relentless drive is unmatched”.


    Pilot Victor Glover could be the first person of colour to step foot on the moon, providing the Artemis II flight is successful and allows the project to progress. It will be his secod spaceflight, having previously spent 168 days in space as pilot on NASA's SpaceX Crew-1.


    “This is a big day. We have a lot to celebrate and it’s so much more than the four names that have been announced,” said Glover.



     The stage is set for Victor Glover to become the first person of colour to step on the moon ( Image: @NASA)


    The four were introduced during a televised ceremony from Houston, home to the nation's astronauts as well as Mission Control.


    "This is humanity's crew," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.


    Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will be making his first flight into space. He was formerly a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and former fighter pilot. He was one of just two recruits selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in May 2009 through the third Canadian Astronaut Recruitment Campaign, and in 2017 became the first Canadian to be entrusted with leading a NASA astronaut class, leading the traning of astronaut candidates from the United States and Canada.


    Artemis II will be the first of NASA’s new missions to the moon with astronauts aboard. It will not launch until November 2024 at the earliest.

    The crew will travel around the moon and back to earth on a 10-day mission readying for Artemis III. They will not set foot on the satellite.



    (Image: NASA – Johnson Space Center)


    The announcement comes after the Artemis I mission was completed in December last year after making a 1.4 million mile journey around the moon. The 25-day mission was the first step of NASA's ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon.


    Artemis II will be the first crewed mission aboard NASA's new Orion spacecraft and the first to launch on the agency's new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.


    "With Artemis I, we set out to prove that the hardware was ready, that SLS was prepared to launch our astronauts skyward, that Orion was equipped to carry them to the moon and back safely again," said Knight.


    "Artemis I was a resounding success, and Artemis II will leverage that by putting humans in the loop.”


    It will be the first set of missions that NASA has used to send a crew to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Artemis III plans to fly four astronauts to the moon in 2025 while Artemis IV plans to be the second lunar landing in 2027.


    In addition to setting up a permanent base camp on the satellite, the program aims to be the gateway to eventual human missions to Mars.


    "Under Artemis, we will explore the frontiers of space and push the boundaries of what's possible," said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. "You may walk on the moon or be one of the many explorers who venture onward to Mars. We're all looking forward to you being a part of our mission."


    During Apollo, NASA sent 24 astronauts to the moon from 1968 through 1972, only half landed. It means only 12 human beings, all men and no women, have ever walked on the moon.




    Also:  Nasa names first female and African American astronauts on a lunar mission

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