Wiseman, Glover, Koch, and Hansen: The Crew of Artemis II

Wiseman, Glover, Koch, and Hansen: The Crew of Artemis II

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency named the four members of the Artemis II crew today: NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Hammock Koch, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen. The foursome will become the first humans to fly around the Moon in more than 50 years when they launch at the end of next year.

The announcement was made at Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field near Houston, TX this morning by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson along with François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry which oversees the Canadian Space Agency.

Crew of Artemis II. Clockwise from front center: Commander Reid Wiseman (NASA), Mission Specialist Christina Hammock Koch (NASA), Pilot Victor Glover (NASA), and Mission Specialist Jeremy Hansen (Canadian Space Agency). Photo credit: Josh Valcarcel

Canada was the first country to join the United States as a partner in the Artemis program. It will build a robotic arm, Canadarm3, for the lunar-orbiting Gateway space station. Canada is a long-time partner in the U.S. human spaceflight program having built Canadarm for the space shuttle and Canadarm2 for the International Space Station. In 2020, NASA and CSA agreed a Canadian would be on the Artemis II crew.

Targeted for launch in November 2024, the 10-day Artemis II mission is a crewed test flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft following the successful uncrewed Artemis I test flight last year.

As a test flight, the crew will not go into orbit around the Moon, much less land on it, but will fly past the Moon on a free-return trajectory that will bring them back to Earth even if the Orion engines do not perform as planned.

Credit: NASA

Wiseman, Glover and Koch are all experienced astronauts, but this will be Hansen’s first spaceflight.

Capt. Reid Wiseman (USN). Artemis II commander. Credit: NASA

Wiseman spent 165 days on the ISS in 2014, performing two spacewalks. A native of Baltimore, MD, he is a Captain in the U.S. Navy and has a bachelor of science degree from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and a master of science in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He was a Naval Aviator when selected as an astronaut in 2009.

Glover also is a Navy Captain and aviator. Selected as an astronaut in 2013, he was pilot for the first operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, Crew-1, in 2020-2021 and spent 168 days on the ISS, performing four spacewalks. Born in Pomona, CA, he has a bachelor of science in general engineering (California Polytechnic State University), a master of science in flight test engineering (USAF TPS), a master of science in systems engineering (Naval Postgraduate School) and a master of military operational art and science (Air University).

Koch was chosen as an astronaut in the same class as Glover. She spent 328 days on the ISS in 2019-2020, setting a record for the longest continuous spaceflight for a woman (Peggy Whitson still holds the record for cumulative time in space for a woman, 665 days over three flights). Koch conducted six spacewalks, three with Jessica Meir, the first all-female spacewalks. Born in Grand Rapids, MI, she grew up in Jacksonville, NC and has bachelor of science degrees in electrical engineering and in physics, and a master of science in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University.

Col. Jeremy Hansen (RCAF), Artemis II mission specialist. Credit: CSA

Hansen is a Colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force. A fighter pilot, he was selected into the Canadian astronaut corps in 2009. This will be his first spaceflight. A native of London, Ontario, he has a bachelor of science in space science and a master of science in physics from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Artemis II is a prelude to Artemis III, which will be the first mission to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Launch is targeted for the end of 2025, but many are skeptical it will be ready by then even if Artemis II is completely successful. Artemis III requires not only NASA’s SLS and Orion, but SpaceX’s Starship Human Landing System (HLS) to get from lunar orbit down to and back from the surface and Axiom Space’s spacesuits for the astronauts to wear during their 6.5 day stay there. Starship and the lunar spacesuits are still in development.

Christina Koch, Artemis II mission specialist, exiting the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft after her record breaking spaceflight in 2019-2020. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Wiseman, Glover, Koch and Hansen will undergo extensive training for their mission over the next year-and-a-half, but they also will play an important role in exciting the public and inspiring youth.

Capt. Victor Glover (USN), Artemis II pilot. Credit: NASA

In their remarks today, they acknowledged that broader responsibility. Koch said she’s often asked if she’s excited, and she is, but she wanted to know about everyone else.

“The one thing I’m most excited about is that we’re going to carry YOUR excitement, YOUR aspirations, YOUR dreams with us on this mission. Artemis II. YOUR mission.”

Glover had an even broader view.

“I pray that God will bless this mission. But I also pray that we can continue to serve as a source of inspiration for cooperation and peace, not just between nations, but in our own nation.” – Victor Glover

President Biden spoke with the newly-named crew and some their children over the phone, sharing his enthusiasm that the mission will “show every child — in America, in Canada, and across the world — that if they can dream it, they can be it.”

The bipartisan leadership of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee issued a joint statement praising the announcement. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), who represents Johnson Space Center and chairs the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, was at Ellington Field for this morning’s event.  He said the astronauts are “paving the way for our future in space” and will “develop new technologies, identify crucial resources, and further our understanding of the universe.” His subcommittee Democratic counterpart, Rep. Eric Sorenson (D-IL), added the crew represents “a 21st-century human deep space exploration program that is innovative, diverse, international, and committed to exploring deep space … for the benefit of all of humanity.”

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Rep. Zoe Lofren (D-CA), chair and ranking member of the full committee respectively, also expressed full support for Artemis and the crew. “Unleashing a new era of space exploration will not only take us to places we’ve never been before, but power scientific breakthroughs, drive technological innovation, and inspire the next generation of students and scientists to reach new heights,” Lucas enthused. Lofgren added: “I am committed to continuing support of an ambitious and inspirational human spaceflight program. I wish NASA and the Artemis II crew best of luck in their preparations for the Artemis II mission, and I look forward to watching NASA’s continued progress in sending humans back to the Moon and on to Mars.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, also was present at the announcement. He tweeted his remarks:

Artemis, and NASA in general, enjoy broad bipartisan support in Congress, but how they will fare in this year’s budget debate is an open question. House Republican leadership wants to cut discretionary spending back to FY2022 levels, possibly exempting defense and veterans affairs which would put even more strain on agencies like NASA. In response to a request from House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), NASA Administrator Bill Nelson submitted a letter explaining the “devastating” consequences to Artemis and other NASA progams if that happens.


This article has been updated.

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