NASA’s Artemis II Mission: A Crewed Test Flight to the Moon and Beyond

NASA's Artemis II mission is set to embark on a 10-day round-the-moon flight in November 2024, with a crew comprising four astronauts: commander Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Jeremy Hansen and Christina Hammock Koch, the first woman to orbit the moon. The mission will serve as the first fully crewed test flight as part of NASA's efforts to return to the moon and will validate the updated approach to how humans can live and work in deep space.[0] The mission is designed to prove the viability of the spacecraft's life-support systems and stress-test the Orion spacecraft. The crew will not land on the moon but will swing around the celestial body before returning to Earth. [1]

Artemis II will be the first crewed moon mission in 50 years and the astronauts will be the first humans to fly in the vicinity of the moon in over half a century. They will also be the first to launch aboard NASA's next-generation megarocket and Orion space capsule.[0] This mission is a precursor to the agency's modern lunar exploration program, which includes establishing a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade. NASA officials said they will use what's learned on and around the moon to take the next giant leap: sending astronauts to Mars. 

Reid Wiseman, 47, spent 165 days in Earth orbit on his first mission, a 2014 flight to the ISS.[2] From 2020 to 2022, Wiseman held the position of chief of NASA's astronaut office.[3] Victor Glover, 46, became a NASA astronaut in 2013.[4] In 2021, he served as the pilot for Crew-1, which was SpaceX's initial crewed spaceflight operation, and spent 167 days aboard the ISS.[3] He was born in Pomona, California and currently serves as an engineer and captain in the U.S. Navy.[3] Glover was the first Black astronaut to serve on a space station crew. [3]

Christina Hammock Koch, 44, will be the first woman to orbit the moon.[5] She has been a NASA astronaut since 2013 and already holds the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman.[6] She has previously made headlines for notching several “firsts” in space, including participating in the first all-female spacewalks. 

Jeremy Hansen, 47, was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut in 2009.[0] The initial Canadian to explore the moon will be the ex-combat pilot.[6] He holds a master's degree in physics and was the first Canadian to lead NASA's astronaut training in the U.S. and Canada. [5]

The Artemis II crew will demonstrate maneuvers and test the life-support systems aboard the partially reusable Orion spacecraft, a capsule designed for manned flight. The crew will participate in training sessions both with the astronauts alone and with the mission control team that will monitor the mission from the ground. [3]

The unveiling of the flight team for Artemis II signals the progress in organizing and getting ready for the lunar flyby operation, although it is expected that the launch will not happen before 2024's conclusion.[7] Assembly and testing of the Artemis II flight hardware is closer to the end than the beginning, but most of the hardware still remains to be delivered to KSC by the different Orion and SLS prime contractors and turned over to EGS for launch processing. [7]

NASA has launched a new “Moon to Mars” program office to manage and develop technologies that will assist with the return to the lunar surface, toward the ultimate goal of putting human explorers on the surface of Mars. The office is expected to coordinate hardware development, mission integration, and risk management for a number of separate vehicles and technology platforms, including the Gateway lunar station, Orion spacecraft, and Space Launch System.[8] Returning to the Moon is seen as a test run for an eventual crewed flight to Mars. 

The Artemis II crew represents the culmination of thousands of hours of work by NASA scientists, engineers and other professionals. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity's crew. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers – the Artemis Generation.” The historic mission will mark a new chapter in space exploration and inspire future generations to continue pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and exploration.

0. “NASA names naval aviator to lead next moon mission” Military Times, 3 Apr. 2023,

1. “NASA announces astronauts who will fly by the moon next year” NBC News, 3 Apr. 2023,

2. “Artemis 2 commander chats with Spaceflight Now” Spaceflight Now, 3 Apr. 2023,

3. “NASA Announces the Astronaut Crew for Artemis II Lunar Flyby” Scientific American, 3 Apr. 2023,

4. “NASA Just Announced the Historic Crew for the Artemis II Moon Mission” Inverse, 3 Apr. 2023,

5. “SoCal Astronaut To Pilot First Human Moon Mission In 50 Years: NASA” Patch, 3 Apr. 2023,

6. “Artemis II mission: Meet the 4 astronauts to make historic trip around the moon in 2024” FOX 35 Orlando, 3 Apr. 2023,

7. “EGS launch team looking forward to working with Artemis II crew –”, 4 Apr. 2023,

8. “This Week in Space: Artemis II, Uranus, and the “Ignore-o-Sphere”” ExtremeTech, 8 Apr. 2023,

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments