The head of the US space agency said on Thursday that the names of the four astronauts who will fly around the Moon next year—three Americans and one Canadian—will be announced next month.
The crew members of the mission known as Artemis 2 would be revealed on April 3, according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson.
Nelson stated, “Astronauts—three from America and one from Canada—will fly around the moon and they’ll test NASA’s Space Launch System, which is our rocket, and the spacecraft called Orion.”
After a 25-day journey around the Moon, the first Artemis mission came to an end in December with an uncrewed Orion capsule safely returning to Earth.
Artemis 2, which will take place toward the end of November 2024, will take a crew of four people around the Moon but will not land on it.
Since the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972, the ambitious program aims to bring people back to the Moon.
Astronauts will make their first landing on the south pole of the Moon on Artemis 3, which will take place approximately one year after Artemis 2.
NASA intends to launch a long-term mission to Mars and establish a permanent human presence on the lunar surface.
NASA intends to send for the first time a woman and a person of color to the Moon as part of the Artemis missions.
The Moon has only been walked on by 12 people, all of whom are white men.
The space agency also said that on March 15 in Houston, it will show off a prototype of the next generation of Axiom Space spacesuits that NASA astronauts will wear on the Moon’s surface.
Nelson invited the $27.2 billion mentioned for NASA in President Joe Biden’s 2024 financial plan on Thursday and noted it was a 7.1 percent expansion over the past monetary year.
He stated, “This budget request reflects the administration’s confidence in NASA and its faith in the world’s finest workforce.”