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[News] Artemis II mission: A woman and an African American will fly around the Moon for the first time in 2024


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With this mission, trips to the Moon are resumed after half a century.


A woman and an African-American, members of the Artemis II mission, will travel around the Moon for the first time in 2024, NASA reported Monday, which released the names of the four crew members.

They are three NASA astronauts, Reid Wiseman (commander), Victor Glover (pilot, African-American) and Christina Koch, who have spent time on the International Space Station (ISS), as well as Jeremy Hansen, from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). , who will make his first flight into space.

Although Artemis II will not land on the moon, this mission resumes trips to the Moon after half a century, as part of an ambitious project to establish a lasting human presence on the lunar surface in the medium term and, ultimately, launch a trip to Mars. .

Koch, 44, an electrical engineer who took part in the first all-female spacewalks while on the ISS, will be the first woman to fly around the Moon.

"I'm excited? Absolutely. But my real question is: Are you excited? And I ask why I'm excited that we're going to take your enthusiasm, your aspirations, your dreams with us on this Artemis II mission," Koch said to an enthusiastic audience in a hangar at Ellington Airport, which serves NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Texas.

As part of the Artemis program, NASA aims to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 on the Artemis III mission, more than five decades after the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972.


"A message to the world"
The four astronauts, dressed in blue flight suits, were introduced by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The largest and most powerful rocket in the world will propel you into the sky,” he said.

“It is a message to the world. We chose to go back to the Moon and then to Mars and we will do it together. Because in the 21st century, NASA explores the Cosmos with international partners," Nelson said.

Wiseman, 47, a US Navy fighter pilot who previously served as NASA's chief astronaut, has been named commander of the Artemis II mission, scheduled for November 2024 with the crew circling the Moon.

The commander thanked "the incredible political support" they have received in this mission, which will serve "to unite our country, unite the whole world, explore to reach Mars and beyond."

For Wiseman, "it's incredibly important" to have a woman and an African-American on the crew. In conversation with AFP, he clarified that all the members are "exceptional and professional operators."

Glover, 46, also a naval aviator and the first African-American man to spend time as a crew member on the ISS, will pilot the flight.

"I pray that we may continue to serve as an inspiration for cooperation and peace, not only among nations, but within our own nation as well," he said.

Koch, the only woman on the Artemis II crew, and Hansen, a 47-year-old fighter pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces, will serve as mission specialists.


To Mars in 2040
Nelson, the head of NASA, has said he expects a manned mission to Mars by 2040. The 10-day Artemis II mission will test NASA's powerful Space Launch System rocket, as well as life support systems aboard Orion spacecraft.

The first Artemis flight concluded in December with an uncrewed Orion capsule returning safely to Earth after a 25-day journey around the Moon.

During the trip around the Earth-orbiting satellite and back, Orion logged more than a million miles (1.6 million kilometers) and went further from our planet than any spacecraft prepared to carry a crew.

Only 12 people, all of them white men, have walked on the Moon.

“This is about more than just going back to the Moon, this is about investing in the future, this is about possibilities, this is about seizing the opportunities of this space economy, from health to food security to climate change and so much more. ”, considered for his part the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of Canada, François-Philippe Champagne, present at the ceremony.



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