After over 50 years, the first humans to fly to the vicinity of the Moon in 2024 on the Artemis II mission includes a woman and a man of colour, NASA announced on Tuesday.
The crew includes NASA astronauts Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, Mission Specialist 1 Christina Hammock Koch, and Mission Specialist 2 Jeremy Hansen, who is part of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
They will work as a team to execute an ambitious set of demonstrations during the flight test.
"The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity's crew," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, in a statement.
Together the astronauts "represent our creed: E pluribus unum - out of many, one. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers - the Artemis Generation," he added.
The approximately 10-day Artemis II flight test will launch on the agency's powerful Space Launch System rocket, prove the Orion spacecraft's life-support systems, and validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space.
The flight, set to build upon the successful uncrewed Artemis I mission completed in December, has paved the way for future long-term human exploration missions to the Moon, and eventually Mars. This is the agency's Moon to Mars exploration approach.
Artemis II will be NASA astronaut Wiseman's second trip to space. He previously served as a flight engineer aboard the International Station for Expedition 41 from May through November 2014.
Wiseman has logged more than 165 days in space, including almost 13 hours as lead spacewalker during two trips outside the orbital complex.
For Glover it will be the second spaceflight, serving previously as pilot on NASA's SpaceX Crew-1, which landed May 2, 2021, after 168 days in space.
As a flight engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 64, he contributed to scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, and participated in four spacewalks.
Koch also will be making her second flight into space on the Artemis II mission. She served as flight engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 59, 60, and 61. Koch has also set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman with a total of 328 days in space and participated in the first all-female spacewalks.
Hansen from CSA will be making his first flight to space.
He was one of two recruits selected by CSA in May 2009 through the third Canadian Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. In 2017, Hansen became the first Canadian to be entrusted with leading a NASA astronaut class, leading the training of astronaut candidates from the US and Canada.
Through Artemis missions, NASA will use innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.