1st woman, 1st person of color will go around moon in historic Artemis II mission, NASA reveals

The first woman and the first person of color will eventually go on to step foot on the lunar surface.

ByMary Kekatos ABCNews logo
Monday, April 3, 2023
NASA reveals 4 astronauts chosen for historic Artemis II mission
Drum roll please... here are your Artemis II astronauts!

HOUSTON, Texas -- NASA and the Canadian Space Agency announced Monday the four astronauts who will partake in the next Artemis mission and fly around the moon.

The Artemis II team will be made up of three Americans -- Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch and Reid Wiseman -- and one Canadian, Jeremy Hansen.

The team includes Koch as first woman and Glover as the first person of color who will eventually go on to step foot on the lunar surface.

The agencies made the announcement at a media event at the NASA Johnson Space Center's Ellington Field in Houston, Texas.

"We are here today with the mission to introduce the world to the crew of Artemis II for names, for explorers, for my friends, answering the call to once more rocket away from Earth, and chart a course around the moon," Joe Acaba, chief of NASA's astronaut office, said at the start of the event.

It comes after the Artemis I mission was completed in December last year after spending 25.5 days in space and making a 1.4-million-mile journey around the moon, according to NASA.

Artemis I was the first step of NASA's ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon and, later on, to send a crewed shuttle to Mars.

Artemis II is scheduled to send four astronauts into space in 2024 for a lunar flyby before returning to Earth.

It will be the first crewed mission aboard NASA's new Orion spacecraft and the first to launch on the agency's new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.

"With Artemis I, we set out to prove that the hardware was ready, that SLS was prepared to launch our astronauts skyward, that Orion was equipped to carry them to the moon and back safely again," said Norman Knight, director of Flight Operations Directorate at NASA. "Artemis I was a resounding success and Artemis II will leverage that by putting humans in the loop."

The mission will take approximately 10 days, but the system will need to undergo massive amounts of testing first to make sure it can support humans living and working in deep space, NASA said.

This will be the first set of missions that NASA has used to send a crew to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972, more than 50 years ago.

The mission broke several records including the longest spacewalk and largest lunar samples brought back to Earth and also involved several experiments, including sending five mice into space with the crew.

"Over the course of the Artemis missions, the first woman and the first person of color will take giant leaps, on the lunar surface," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

In total, the Artemis expedition includes four missions, each of which will cost roughly $4.1 billion. The project will cost up to $93 billion by 2025, according to an audit from the NASA Office of the Inspector General.

Artemis III plans to send four astronauts to the moon in 2025 while Artemis IV plans to be the second lunar landing in 2027.

In addition to setting up a permanent base camp on the moon, the program aims to be the gateway to eventual human missions to Mars.

"Under Artemis, we will explore the frontiers of space and push the boundaries of what's possible," said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. "You may walk on the moon or be one of the many explorers who venture onward to Mars. We're all looking forward to you being a part of our mission."

ABC News' Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.