First woman, Black astronaut to make 2024 flight around Moon
NASA unveiled the crew on Monday for its first human mission to the Moon in more than 50 years — including the first woman and Black man to voyage into deep space.
Christina Koch, a NASA astronaut who holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, will be a mission specialist on next year's Artemis II flight around the Moon.
NASA's Victor Glover, a naval aviator, will pilot the Orion spacecraft that circles the Moon in November 2024, becoming the first Black man to take part in a lunar mission.
Rounding out the crew are veteran NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, 47, the mission commander, and Jeremy Hansen, also 47, a former fighter pilot now with the Canadian Space Agency.
The three Americans and one Canadian will become the first astronauts to venture that deep into space since the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972.
The Artemis II flight is a prelude to returning humans to the Moon for the first time in a half century and an eventual mission to Mars.
The three American astronauts have all spent time on the International Space Station (ISS) while Hansen, the Canadian mission specialist, will be making his first space flight.
The four astronauts, dressed in blue flight suits, were introduced by NASA administrator Bill Nelson at an event at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"The largest, most powerful rocket in the world is going to propel them onward and upward into the heavens," Nelson said.
Koch, 44, an electrical engineer, spent a record 11 consecutive months in space and took part in the first all-female spacewalks while on the ISS.
"Am I excited?" Koch said. "Absolutely!"
The 46-year-old Glover said Artemis II is "more than a mission to the Moon and back."
"It is the next step that gets humanity to Mars," he said.