NASA has announced the crew that will fly to the moon by the end of 2024, consisting of three men and one woman. The four astronauts were presented during a televised ceremony from Houston, where Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, called them “humanity’s crew”. They will fly NASA’s Orion capsule on top of a Space Launch System rocket from Kennedy Space Center, and will head straight back to Earth after flying around the moon. The mission’s commander, Reid Wiseman, will be joined by Christina Koch, who holds the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman, Victor Glover, an African American naval aviator, and Jeremy Hansen, a Canadian astronaut. Wiseman, Glover, and Koch are space veterans. This is NASA’s first Artemis mission, and the first crew to include a woman and a non-American. The four astronauts were chosen from 41 active astronauts, and Canada had four candidates. Provided the next 10-day moonshot succeeds, it’s NASA’s intention to land two astronauts on the moon by 2025.
During Apollo, NASA sent 24 astronauts to the moon between 1968 and 1972, with 12 of them landing. Schmitt, a geologist, was the only astronaut not to be a military-trained test pilot among the 12 who landed during the Apollo program. An empty Orion capsule also previously flew to the moon and back in a dress rehearsal late last year.