The way NASA diversified the crew composition for the Artemis II mission to circle the Moon this time demonstrated its future cooperative plans.
On April 3, NASA announced that 4 astronauts would join the crew of Artemis II, scheduled to carry out the mission at the end of 2024. Artemis II will take these 4 astronauts to the Moon, for a mission lasting 10 days.
Although this group of astronauts is not expected to land on the Moon, they will be the first to leave the vicinity of Earth and the first to approach the Moon in more than 50 years.
This mission will also test technology and equipment needed for future lunar landings and is an important step in NASA’s planned return to the lunar surface.
As part of a new era of lunar and space exploration, NASA has set out some clear goals. The agency hopes to inspire young people to take an interest in space, make the Artemis program more economically and politically sustainable, and ultimately encourage international cooperation on future service missions.
Artemis II crew members
Artemis II crew members (left to right) are Christina Hammock Koch, Reid Wiseman (seated), Victor Glover and Jeremy Hansen. (Photo: NASA)
Who are the 4 selected astronauts?
The four crew members of Artemis II all have a lot of experience, three of them being American and having previously flown in space. The remaining “rookie” astronaut is a representative of Canada.
The leader of this mission is Reid Wiseman – a naval pilot. On a previous mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Reid spent 165 days in space and completed a record 82 hours of experiments in just one week. Reid also serves as head of the U.S. Astronaut Office from 2020 to 2023.
The second astronaut is Victor Glover. After more than 3,000 hours of flight time on more than 40 different types of aircraft, Glover was selected to join the astronaut team in 2013. He participated in the Crew-1 mission, the first mission to use rockets and spaceships. at the international space station ISS.
The only woman on the crew this time is expert Christina Hammock Koch. She spent 328 days in space, more than any other woman, during three expeditions to the ISS. She has also participated in 6 different spacewalks, including the first 3 spacewalks with all female astronauts. Koch is an engineer by training and previously worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The last astronaut was Canadian, Jeremy Hansen. Although new to spaceflight, he participated in space simulation programs such as NEEMO 19, in which he lived in an underwater facility to simulate deep space exploration. Before being selected to be part of the Canadian astronaut team in 2009, he was an F-18 pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Like the Apollo astronauts, three of them began their careers as military pilots. The two men, Ried and Glover, were both qualified test pilots, as were most of the Apollo astronauts.
Meanwhile, expert Koch, with technical expertise, is a typical role model for modern astronauts. The space mission specialist position helps those with more scientific backgrounds undertake spaceflight.
A collaborative and diverse future
Unlike the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s, with Artemis NASA focused on building a politically sustainable lunar program by fostering the participation of many different groups and countries.
The participation of other countries in NASA missions – in this case Canada – is particularly important for the Artemis program and the Artemis II crew. International cooperation brings many benefits. First, it allows NASA to draw on the strength and expertise of U.S. allies’ engineers, researchers, and space agencies and spread the technology production and cost burden. It also helps the United States continue to demonstrate its international leadership in space as competition with other countries, notably China, intensifies.
The Artemis II crew is also very diverse compared to the Apollo astronauts. Previously, NASA had repeatedly announced that the Artemis program would send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon. For astronauts Koch and Glover, the Artemis II voyage is the first step toward realizing that promise and inspiring future generations of space exploration.
The four astronauts aboard Artemis II will be the first to return to proximity to the Moon since 1972. The flight will take the Orion spacecraft around the Moon. During the flight, the crew will monitor the spacecraft and test a new communications system that will allow it to send more data and communicate with Earth more easily than previous systems.
If all goes as planned, by the end of 2025, Artemis III will mark humanity’s return to the surface of the Moon, with a more diverse crew. Although the Artemis program still has a long way to go before humans set foot on the Moon again, the Artemis II crew shows how NASA wants to get there in a diverse and collaborative way.
Article source: News Journal
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The way NASA diversified its crew composition thanks to the Artemis II mission flying around the Moon this time demonstrated its plan…