The Artemis II crew will become the first to fly to the moon in over 50 years

Monday’s announcement by NASA and its Administrator Bill Nelson of the four moon-bound crew members of the Artemis II mission had all the trappings one would expect for such a momentous and historic event.

The astronaut corps — besides the two currently on the International Space Station — a signature blue and white NASA T-38 jet trainer used by the astronauts, a press-media-NASA audience and a very impressive array of backdrop pictures with inspirational music set the remarkable scene.

The event reminded me of the famous scene in the 1983 Academy Award winning movie, “The Right Stuff,” when the seven Mercury astronauts are first introduced to the world but with a 21st Century update to the visuals and sounds, as well as a much larger and more diverse Astronaut Corps.

This will be the first crewed mission to the Moon since Apollo 17 in December 1972.

The Artemis II crew, consisting of pilot Victor Glover, Cmdr. Reid Wiseman, mission specialists Jeremy Hansen — of the Canadian Space Agency — and Christina Koch, were introduced one by one, with Koch going first. Each came up to the stage behind the robust, vocal approval from their peers and the audience.

Official crew portrait for Artemis II, from left: NASA Astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Jeremy Hansen.
The Artemis II crew, from left: pilot Victor Glover, Cmdr Reid Wiseman and mission specialists Jeremy Hansen and Christina Koch. Together, they will become the first to fly to the moon in more than 50 years. (Courtesy NASA/Josh Valcarcel)

Koch will be the first woman and Glover the first African American assigned to a moon-bound mission. NASA has said that the first woman and person of color will set foot on the moon when Artemis III lands at the lunar South Pole. Artemis III is tentatively scheduled for 2025.

The Artemis II crew also has a direct connection to the D.C. area as Wiseman is a Baltimore native with extensive ties to the city and Maryland.

I am proud to say that the tradition of Naval Aviators going to the moon continues as Wiseman and Glover are U.S. Navy Captains. Naval Aviators commanded Apollo 7, 11,12,13, 14, 16 and 17. With Wiseman commanding Artemis II, the Naval Aviation-moon mission connection continues.

See this very cool, and to me, goosebumps level inspirational video about the Artemis II crew.

Artemis II is currently scheduled for launch in November 2024.

Follow my astronomical adventures on Twitter @SkyGuyinVA and my daily blog to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email me at

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