NASA Announces 18 Artemis Astronauts for Initial Moon Missions

NASA Announces 18 Artemis Astronauts for Initial Moon Missions
The 18 members of NASA’s Artemis Team, from top left to bottom right: Joe Acaba, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Woody Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins and Stephanie Wilson. Credit: NASA

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  After a long wait and numerous inquiries NASA is closing out 2020 with the exciting announcement of the first 18 astronauts named to formed to the core of NASA’s Artemis Team that will “help pave the way for the next astronaut missions on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program.”

The Artemis team of 18 represents a truly diverse mix of people from many backgrounds with wide ranging expertise and experience – and includes both veteran and rookie NASA astronauts – 9 each! As well as an equal gender mix of men and women – 9 each!

Among these 18 are the first women and next man set to land on the Lunar South Pole during the Artemis 3 moon landing target for late 2024 as currently envisioned by NASA  under Project Artemis.

The 18 members of NASA’s Artemis Team, from top left to bottom right: Joe Acaba, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Woody Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins and Stephanie Wilson. Credit: NASA

The announcement of the Artemis team came at the end of the final meeting of the National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and was held at the Apollo Saturn center below the Saturn V mon rocket display at NASA’s  Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) in Florida on Dec. 9.

Vice President Mike Pence had the honor of introducing the members of the Artemis Team during the eighth National Space Council meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“I give you the heroes who will carry us to the Moon and beyond – the Artemis Generation,” said Vice President Mike Pence. “It is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read. The Artemis Team astronauts are the future of American space exploration – and that future is bright.”

In fact two of the 18 are currently serving aboard the International Space Station as Expedition 64 crew members– namely Kate Rubins and Victor Glover.

“It is part of the human spirit to explore. Today, we’d like to introduce you to our
@NASAArtemis team — the initial team of @NASA_Astronauts who will help pave the way for our next human missions on and around the Moon,” NASA tweeted

“It’s official. One of these astronauts will go down in history as the first woman on the Moon.” NASA tweeted.

Under Project Artemis NASA is developing the Space Launch System (SLS) mega moon rocket and the Orion deep space crew capsule to launch and hurl  astronaut crews of four to the Moon and back and eventually further beyond to asteroids and the Red Planet Mars.

The 1st SLS core stage for Artemis 1 is currently undergoing a series of tests at NASA’s Stennis facility in Mississippi that will culminate with the green run hot fire test of the first stage engines NET Jan 2021.

NASA’s Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission has completed major assembly for the Artemis 1 mission is seen here in the manufacturing facility at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in July 2019.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

“We are incredibly grateful for the president and vice president’s support of the Artemis program, as well as the bipartisan support for all of NASA’s science, aeronautics research, technology development, and human exploration goals,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“As a result, we’re excited to share this next step in exploration – naming the Artemis Team of astronauts who will lead the way, which includes the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface.”

“Mothers. Fathers. Doctors. Pilots. Teachers. The #Artemis Team of @NASA_Astronauts represents all different types of people. Learn all about the individuals who comprise the group that will lead our way to the Moon,” NASA tweeted.

The actual flight announcements will be made at a later date.

Artemis 1 is targeted to launch in Nov. 2021 on an uncrewed three week long mission

Artemis 2 would follow with a crew of four to loop around the moon NET 2022.

Artemis 3 would follow NET 2024 with the lunar south pole landing.

NASA graphic showing the notional plan for the Artemis III mission, the first return humans to the surface of the moon, including the first woman and the next man, launching in 2024. Credit: NASA

 

But the timelines for all are in some doubt as the US Congress has significantly shortchanged NASA FY 2021 funding request for the Artemis program – providing on $1 Billion vs the $3.2 Billion requested to jump start development of the essential the new human lunar lander required to touchdown on the lunar surface.

Three teams are currently working under on NASA study contracts to develop the human lunar lander

“We are in the midst of negotiating to get that lander funded,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, at the Space Council meeting. “This has to be generational in nature, which means strong bipartisan support is necessary.

“But ultimately, if we don’t get the (requested) $3.3 billion, it gets more and more difficult. … If there’s anything you can do to help with the $3.3 billion, we are certainly asking for that.”

Here’s NASA’s outline of the 18 Artemis Team astronaut members:

Joseph Acaba was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2004. He has spent 306 days in space and performed three spacewalks. The Anaheim, California, native holds a bachelor’s degree in geology, as well as master’s degrees in geology and education. Before coming to NASA, he taught high school science and middle school math and science.

Kayla Barron was chosen as an astronaut in 2017. Originally from Richland, Washington, she earned a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering. As a submarine warfare officer, Barron was a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community. She is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy.

Raja Chari joined the astronaut corps in 2017. A colonel in the U.S. Air Force, he was raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics. The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School graduate worked on F-15E upgrades and then the F-35 development program, before coming to NASA.

Matthew Dominick was chosen as an astronaut in 2017. Born in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, he holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in systems engineering. He also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and was a developmental test pilot specializing in aircraft carrier launches and landings before coming to NASA.

Victor Glover was selected as an astronaut in 2013. The Pomona, California, native and U.S. Navy Commander earned a bachelor’s degree in general engineering and master’s degrees in flight test engineering, systems engineering, and military operational art and science. He piloted the Crew-1 Dragon Resilience and is currently serving as an Expedition 64 flight engineer aboard the International Space Station.

Warren Hoburg joined the astronaut corps in 2017. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics, and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science. Before coming to NASA, he was an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a seasonal member of the Yosemite Search and Rescue team.

Jonny Kim came to NASA as part of the 2017 astronaut class. The Los Angeles, California, native enlisted in the U.S. Navy following high school. He became a Navy SEAL before earning his commission and going back to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, followed by a doctor of medicine.

Christina Hammock Koch was selected as an astronaut in 2013 and holds the record for longest single spaceflight by a woman, with 328 days in space and six spacewalks. She grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and received bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

Kjell Lindgren was chosen as an astronaut in 2009. He spent 141 days in space and performed two spacewalks. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, he holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in cardiovascular physiology and a doctor of medicine. Before becoming an astronaut, he was a flight surgeon supporting space shuttle and space station missions.

Nicole A. Mann joined the astronaut corps in 2013 and is currently training as pilot for the Crew Flight Test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. Born in Petaluma, California, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.  The U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel was an F/A-18 fighter pilot and graduate from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

Anne McClain, from Spokane, Washington, joined the astronaut corps in 2013. She has spent 204 days in space and conducted two spacewalks. The U.S. Army lieutenant colonel is a Senior Army Aviator and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School as a helicopter test pilot. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical/aeronautical engineering, and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and international relations.

Jessica Meir was chosen as an astronaut in 2013. She has spent 205 days in space and performed three spacewalks. A native of Caribou, Maine, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in space studies, and a doctorate in marine biology. Before coming to NASA, she studied the physiology of animals in extreme environments.

Jasmin Moghbeli joined the astronaut corps in 2017. A major in the U.S. Marine Corps, she was raised in Baldwin, New York. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering. She also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and tested H-1 helicopters before she came to NASA.

Kate Rubins was chosen as an astronaut in 2009 and is currently orbiting Earth on her second flight aboard the International Space Station. She was raised in Napa, California, and holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a doctorate in cancer biology. She was the first person to sequence DNA in space and has performed two spacewalks.

Frank Rubio was selected as part of the 2017 astronaut class. The U.S. Army lieutenant colonel considers Miami, Florida, his hometown. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a doctor of medicine. He served as both a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and a flight surgeon in the Army before coming to NASA.

Scott Tingle came to NASA to join the 2009 astronaut class. The U.S. Navy captain has spent 168 days in space and performed one spacewalk. He considers Randolph, Massachusetts, his hometown and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. He also graduated from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School.

Jessica Watkins joined the astronaut corps in 2017. The Lafayette, Colorado, native received a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences, and a doctorate in geology. Before becoming an astronaut, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where she served as a member of the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.

Stephanie Wilson was chosen as an astronaut in 1996. A veteran of three space shuttle flights, she has spent 42 days in space. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. Before becoming an astronaut, she worked on the Galileo spacecraft at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Acaba, Dominick, McClain, Meir, and Watkins attended the announcement in person, representing their teammates.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine gives remarks on the agency’s Artemis program, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, announcing assembly completion in front of the 1st core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) moon rocket at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about NASA missions, and Artemis,  National Security missions, SpaceX Crew Dragon, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon, with astronauts Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell aboard on Dec. 24, 1968. Credit: NASA/Apollo 8/Bill Anders
Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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