NASA has announced the selection of four astronauts for its first crewed mission to the Moon in over 50 years. The mission, known as Artemis 2, is the second in a series of three planned crewed missions to the Moon.
The four astronauts who have been chosen to fly on the mission are: Commander Kayla Barron, Pilot Raja Chari, and Mission Specialists Megan McArthur and Jessica Watkins. All four astronauts have extensive experience in spaceflight, having collectively flown on three space shuttle missions, two Soyuz missions and one SpaceX mission.
Commander Barron is a former submarine officer and a test pilot with the U.S. Navy. She was selected by NASA in 2013 and is currently training for the Artemis 2 mission. She has previously served as a CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) for the International Space Station, and was the first woman to command a submarine.
Pilot Chari is a U.S. Air Force Colonel and test pilot. He was selected by NASA in 2017 and has served as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team.
Mission Specialists McArthur and Watkins are both veteran astronauts. McArthur was selected by NASA in 2000 and has flown on two space shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission. Watkins was selected by NASA in 2013 and has flown on one space shuttle mission and one SpaceX mission.
The Artemis 2 mission is scheduled to launch in 2024. The mission will take the astronauts on a journey to the Moon, where they will spend six days orbiting the Moon and conducting scientific experiments. They will also collect samples of lunar regolith and bring them back to Earth.
NASA is looking to the Artemis 2 mission to pave the way for further exploration of the Moon and beyond. The mission marks a historic milestone in the agency’s goal of returning humans to the Moon and establishing a permanent presence there.