NASA announced Monday a naval aviator will lead an upcoming mission around the moon, bringing humans deeper into space than has been achieved in more than five decades.
Navy Capt. Gregory “Reid” Wiseman will serve as the commander for the Artemis II mission, scheduled for November 2024 at the earliest. The journey will mark the first crewed lunar mission for the space agency since the Apollo program ended in 1972.
Wiseman is set to be joined by Navy Capt. Victor Glover, who will serve as the flight crew’s pilot, as well as NASA astronaut Christina Koch and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers — the Artemis generation,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said at a news conference at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas.
On their roughly 10-day mission, the crew will orbit the moon aboard an Orion spacecraft using a Space Launch System rocket. NASA test launched the space capsule back in November 2022.
The Artemis program looks to build toward further moon missions later this decade, which NASA says will include landing the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface. The space agency is targeting a 2025 launch date for that mission, known as Artemis III.
Before being selected as an astronaut in 2009, Wiseman commissioned to the sea service through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1997, according to his NASA biography. The Baltimore, Maryland, native deployed twice to the Middle East and later served as a Navy test pilot. More recently, he held the most senior position among NASA’s astronaut corps.
This will be Wiseman’s second trip to space after serving aboard the International Space Station in 2014. It will also be his fellow naval aviator Glover’s second space flight, having previously piloted NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1.
Prior to being selected as an astronaut in 2013, Glover deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, later becoming a test pilot, according to his NASA biography. The California native has accumulated 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft, over 400 carrier arrested landings and 24 combat missions.
Of the 41 active NASA astronauts, more than half have at least some military experience. Across the services’ components, at least 10 space explorers have or are serving with the Navy, six with the Army, four with the Marine Corps and seven between the Air Force and Space Force.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media
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