Meet The Astronauts Taking NASA Back To The Moon

From left, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir, Joseph Acaba, Jessica Watkins, Matthew Dominick, and Anne McClain, along with NASA Communications’ Derrol Nail at the Artemis Team presentation event.  NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA has announced its Artemis Team, a group of astronauts that will take part in the American space agency's return to the Moon this decade. The 18 astronauts will be involved in the preparation and eventual crewed missions to the Moon.

The team was presented by Vice President Mike Pence at the eighth National Space Council meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There are no flight assignments yet and the team will likely see new additions and international partners in time.

The current plan for the Artemis Program is an uncrewed launch in August 2021, followed by a crewed mission in lunar orbit in 2023, and then the historic Artemis 3 to take a crew back down to the surface of our natural satellite.

“There is so much exciting work ahead of us as we return to the moon, and it will take the entire astronaut corps to make that happen,” Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester said in a statement. “Walking on the lunar surface would be a dream come true for any one of us, and any part we can play in making that happen is an honor. I am proud of this particular group of men and women and know that any of them would do an outstanding job representing NASA and the United States on a future Artemis mission.”

The Artemis team features several veterans of previous and current space missions as well as new recruits from the 2017 class. Among the veterans, we find Stephanie Wilson, Scott Tingle Kathleen Rubins, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole Mann, Joe Acaba, Anne McClain, Christina Koch, and Jessica Meir, the latter two of whom performed the first all-women spacewalk in 2019.

This group also features Victor Glover who piloted the Crew-1 Dragon Resilience last month. He is currently on the International Space Station serving as a flight engineer for Expedition 64. He’ll be there until he comes back with his fellow crew in May 2021.

The 2017 class making their debut with Artemis are Jasmin Moghbeli, Frank Rubio, Jessica Watkins, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Warren Hoburg, and Jonny Kim.

The astronauts will help in the development of the landing systems, training, and hardware requirements. A new age of lunar exploration seems to be finally here.

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