NASA announced Monday the crew members will join the Artemis II mission, the second installment of the agency’s historic push to establish a human presence on the moon.
The four astronauts will be the first crew members on board an Artemis space flight, after the program kicked off with the launch of an empty capsule in November 2022.
The crew will blast off towards the moon, but they won’t be landing on it – that’s what Artemis III hopes to accomplish. The goal of this mission will be to orbit the lunar surface on a flight lasting approximately 10 days. The mission marks the first time crew will be aboard the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, NASA says.
NASA dropped a short trailer in anticipation of the announcement.
Here’s what to know about Monday’s astronaut unveiling:
Artemis II crew members
Here are the crew members scheduled to blast off on Artemis II, with additional details provided by NASA:
► Victor Glover: Glover will pilot the Artemis II mission after logging 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircrafts.
► Christina Koch: A mission specialist on Artemis II, Koch visited the International Space Station in 2019 and made waves in the first all-woman spacewalk.
► Jeremy Hansen: A member of the Canadian Space Agency, Hansen is a former fighter pilot and works with NASA in training astronauts. He’ll serve as a mission specialist on Artemis II.
How to watch NASA announce Artemis II astronauts
You can watch the event live at the embed at the top of this page or on USA TODAY’s YouTube channel.
NASA will also be streaming it on on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
When will Artemis II launch?
NASA’s budget plan for 2024 says Artemis II will launch no earlier than November 2024.
What is Artemis II?
If the late 2024 timeline holds, the four Artemis II astronauts announced on Monday will be the first to travel around the moon and back aboard NASA’s Orion capsule. An SLS rocket will kick off their ride.
The mission will follow a similar path to last year’s uncrewed Artemis I demonstration but will be shorter in duration. Expected to last about 10 days, Artemis II will stress Orion’s life support systems for deep-space missions and push the crew 6,400 miles beyond the far side of the moon. After coasting back to Earth for about four days, Orion will bring the crew home for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
When was the last time humans traveled to the moon?
The last time NASA, or any space agency, sent humans to the moon’s surface was more than 50 years ago.
Apollo 17 launched NASA astronauts Gene Cernan, Jack Schmitt, and Ronald Evans on Dec. 7, 1972. It was the only Apollo mission launched at night.
The Apollo 17 spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 19, marking the last time humans traveled back from the moon – at least until Artemis II attempts to do the same.
Contributing: Emre Kelly, Florida Today