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James Blair - NASA - JSC
Space Adventure

Nasa announces crew for mission flying around the Moon next year

Nasa aims to send astronauts back to the Moon in 2025, more than five decades after the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972.

NASA HAS REVEALED the names of the astronauts — three Americans and a Canadian — who will fly around the Moon next year, a prelude to returning humans to the lunar surface for the first time in half a century.

The mission, Artemis II, is scheduled to take place in November 2024 with the four-person crew circling the Moon but not landing on it.

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

The crew for the mission includes Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, Mission Specialist Christina Hammock Koch and Mission Specialist Jeremy Hansen.

The US space agency hopes to establish a lasting human presence on the lunar surface and eventually launch a voyage to Mars. Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said this week at a “What’s Next Summit” hosted by Axios that he expected a crewed mission to Mars by the year 2040.

The four members of the Artemis II crew were announced at an event at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The 10-day Artemis II mission will test Nasa’s powerful Space Launch System rocket as well as the life-support systems aboard the Orion spacecraft.

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

During the trip around Earth’s orbiting satellite and back, Orion logged well over 1.6 million kilometres and went farther from Earth than any previous habitable spacecraft.

Nelson was also asked at the Axios summit whether Nasa could stick to its timetable of landing astronauts on the south pole of the Moon in late 2025.

“Space is hard,” Nelson said. “You have to wait until you know that it’s as safe as possible, because you’re living right on the edge.

“So I’m not so concerned with the time,” he said.

“We’re not going to launch until it’s right.”

© AFP 2023

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