Artemis II Crew Meets with Biden and Harris (Updated)

Artemis II Crew Meets with Biden and Harris (Updated)

The Artemis II crew made an unannounced visit to the White House today, meeting with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The President’s and Vice President’s schedules released last night made no mention of the impending meeting of the country’s two top elected officials with the four people who will be the first to circle the Moon since the Apollo era. [This article was updated after NASA released more information on December 19.]

The White House releases the President’s and Vice President’s daily schedules every evening. The schedules for today did not include anything related to NASA.


The first public hint that the three Americans and one Canadian chosen to fly the first human mission around the Moon since 1972 were visiting the White House was a post on X by CNN reporter Kristin Fisher at 5:07 pm ET.

NASA confirmed to that the astronauts were at the White House and said they would “publish an image release and share additional photos once the White House releases their products.”

NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Koch and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen were selected as the Artemis II crew in April.

Official crew portrait for Artemis II, clockwise from left: NASA Astronauts Christina Koch and Victor Glover,  Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Jeremy Hansen, and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman. Photo Credit: Josh Valcarcel

As of press time, NASA had posted to X one photo of the crew on the White House grounds, but not with Biden or Harris. According to the post, they discussed “their training and science plans for the mission.”

Artemis II is scheduled to launch about one year from now on the crewed test flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.  An uncrewed test flight, Artemis I, successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean off of San Diego almost exactly one year ago on December 11, 2022 after 25 days 11 hours.

As a test flight, they will not orbit Moon, much less land on it. Instead they will be on a “free return” trajectory that will bring them back to Earth even if their propulsion system does not perform as expected.

Source: NASA

Why the White House and NASA chose not to disclose this event in advance is unclear.

UPDATE:  On December 19, the day before a meeting of the White House National Space Council chaired by Harris, NASA issued a press release about the crew’s meeting with Biden and Harris, including the first publicly released photo of the crew with the President. Previous photos were only of the crew outside the White House. The press release notes that the crew met with Harris separately from the meeting with the President.

Artemis II crew members: NASA astronauts Christina Koch, left, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen, right, pose for a group photograph with U.S. President Joe Biden, center, in the White House Oval Office in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

The White House also posted photos and videos on X of the meetings.

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