NASA reveals the crew of the Artemis II mission


NASA/James Blair

The Artemis II crew poses for a picture.

On Monday, April 3, 2023, NASA revealed the crew of its next mission to the moon: Artemis II. 

Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, Mission Specialist Christina Hammock Koch, and Mission Specialist Jeremy Hansen are the four astronauts tasked with the 10-day flight in outer space. 

Artemis II, intended to launch in November 2024, will test the capability of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) to carry humans into lunar orbit so that Artemis III can eventually land humans on the moon. NASA intends for the overall Artemis program to help humans explore the moon long-term and, ultimately, land on other extraterrestrial entities like Mars.

Artemis I, the first mission of the Artemis program, launched successfully on November 16, 2022, initially testing the ability of the Orion spacecraft to withstand heat and enter lunar orbit without humans aboard. The mission concluded on December 11, 2022, when the Orion spacecraft landed back on Earth. 

The Artemis program marks the first time since the Apollo program of the late 60s and early 70s that NASA has attempted lunar exploration. In 1962, when President John F. Kennedy announced that America would send a man to the moon, the initial goal was to win a victory against the Soviet Union in the Space Race sector of the Cold War. Now, though, the reasons for lunar exploration are (almost) entirely different. Besides just the goal of our eventual trip to Mars, Artemis has several aims: to pave the way for NASA to construct Gateway, a lunar space station; to test new spacesuits and vehicles; to assess the moon’s availability of natural resources, like water and fuel; and to keep up with the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

But this is the million-dollar question: what makes the Artemis II program particularly special?

The crew of Artemis II includes the first woman, Christina Hammock Koch, and the first Black man, Victor Glover, to complete a lunar mission. Both worked as Flight Engineers on the International Space Station (ISS). Koch partook in the first-ever all-female spacewalks of 2019 and completed the longest spaceflight by a woman, lasting 328 days. Glover served as a US Senate Legislative Fellow and as the pilot of the 2021 Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon, Resilience.

Along with Koch and Glover, Jeremy Hansen, the first Canadian on a lunar mission and a member of the deep-sea NEEMO 19 mission of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Reid Wiseman, a Flight Engineer of an intense 165-day NASA research Expedition on the ISS, join the Artemis II crew.

These remarkable human beings will expand our knowledge of the great unknown and simultaneously build the potential of our future on Earth. With NASA recruiting such brilliant people, anything is possible in the Artemis program – even the pursuit of life on Mars.