Artemis Program Update Blog #1: NASA Announces Artemis II Crew
The recently announced Artemis II crew.
On November 16 last year, at 1:47 AM, Artemis I’s rocket assembly blasted off from Merritt Island, Florida, on its way to our nearest cosmic neighbor, the Moon. The uncrewed mission’s primary goal was to assess the Orion spacecraft’s heat shield upon atmospheric reentry, a test the capsule passed with flying colors after its splashdown 25 days later. The mission was a certified success, but only the first step for the Artemis Program’s ambitious plans. Artemis II will send a crewed mission to lunar orbit, followed by Artemis III, IV, and V landing on the Moon, with the intention of eventually building a permanent settlement on the surface.
The program has a long timetable, one that is likely to expand, with Artemis II, III, IV, and V currently slotted for 2024, 2025, 2028, and 2029, respectively. These will be the first Moon missions since Apollo 17 in 1972, an absence of five decades that will soon come to an end. To chronicle this return to the Moon, Mini Museum is excited to bring you the Artemis Program Blog which will share updates and stories from Artemis as they roll out.
Artemis II mission map.
This past Monday on April 3, NASA announced the crew members for Artemis II: Mission Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialists Jeremy Hansen and Christina Hammock Koch. Glover will be the first person of color on such a mission, Koch the first woman, and Hansen the first Canadian, as part of NASA’s collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency. The four are slotted to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in November of next year–during their mission the astronauts will assess life support and other functions aboard the Orion in preparation for Artemis III’s landing on the Moon.
The announcement of the Artemis II crew follows other exciting updates from the program–last month, NASA unveiled a new generation of spacesuits to be worn during Artemis III, designed by Axiom Space, one of the agency's private sector collaborators. Unfortunately, it has not been all good news coming out of Artemis–NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin recently testified to a Congressional house subcommittee that testing the suit and other equipment will probably push Artemis III’s launch date into 2026, a year later than planned. With other delays already having hindered Artemis I, concern is growing over the launch schedule for the other missions.
When exactly the Artemis missions will launch remains fluid, but its goals remain concrete: a return to the Moon, laying the groundwork for a permanent base on its surface. As the program anticipates staggering hurdles and moments of triumph, Mini Museum hopes to be your guide to humanity’s return to the lunar surface. Check back here to learn more about the Artemis Program.