KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (WFLA) — NASA’s Artemis program will take humans back to the moon for the first time in 50 years.
It began with the Artemis I mission in November 2022, when NASA’s powerful Space Launch System rocket launched for the first time.
Although there was no crew onboard, manikins and sensors inside recorded what it will be like when astronauts do launch on the Artemis II mission.
The four-astronaut crew of Artemis II saw their crew module for the first time this week. Christina Koch, who is from Jacksonville and is also an NC State graduate, is part of the crew.
Their mission will fly more than 6,000 miles beyond the moon, deeper into space than any human has gone before. The crew will also be the first to launch on top of NASA’s powerful SLS rocket, they will spend ten days in space.
“I am excited we are doing this,” Mission Specialist Christina Hammock Koch said. “I am excited this is going to put us back on the moon in a sustainable way.”
This crew will not land on the moon, but they will be busy throughout the mission. They will conduct tests on the spacecraft to push it to its limits with a crew onboard.
Their mission is to learn the crew module in and out, to teach the crews of later missions the best procedures.
“I think the biggest thing for our crew is setting the stage for our colleagues for Artemis three and four, doing everything we can to make sure the Orion spacecraft is ready for humans and ready to go complete the following missions,” Commander Reid Wiseman said.
The crew is beyond excited to go, but also know this mission is not without risk.
“I worry for the sake of my kids, for my family and for the sake of the program,” Wiseman said. “Anything could go wrong, but I know that these teams have developed this spaceship with layers of redundancy.”
The Artemis II mission is currently scheduled to launch in November of 2024. If all goes well, it will pave the way for the next historic missions – Artemis III and Artemis IV – which will put humans back on the moon.