NASA has announced that four astronauts will be allowed to orbit the moon, with the American Reid Wiseman commanding the Artemis II space mission. This will be the first manned launch of the giant Space Launch System rocket, with a ten-day journey planned. The earth will be circled twice before the moon is orbited once. Wiseman will be joined by Pilot Victor Glover, Mission Specialist Christina Hammock Koch, and Mission Specialist Jeremy Hansen. Wiseman describes the mission as “a tiny step from humans to Mars and a permanent human presence on the moon.”
Wiseman, who is 47 years old and from Maryland, was a flight engineer on board the International Space Station in 2014. Before his NASA career, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the Kriegsmarine. Glover, who is 46 years old and from California, also has a similar background, having been a fighter pilot and test pilot in the Navy.
Koch holds the record for the longest time a woman has spent in space, having spent 328 days at a time as a flight engineer on board the ISS. She initially worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center before working in Antarctica and Greenland, as well as for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Alaska and Samoa.
Jeremy Hansen, who is 47 years old and from London, Ontario, became a private pilot at 17 and joined the Canadian military at 18. He was selected for the Canadian space program in 2009 and has since worked as a radio announcer for communication with the ISS and lived six days underground in Italy and a week on the seabed off Key Largo.
While substitute astronauts for the mission have not yet been determined, NASA informed heise online that both training performance and the requirement profile of the mission will play a role in the selection process.