It looks like NASA has shortlisted 11 candidates for its Artemis mission that aims to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. The ultimate goal of the Artemis mission is to land humans on Mars. The 11 NASA candidates along with two candidates from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), who were selected in 2017, were the first class of astronauts to graduate under the Artemis program. They completed two years of basic training for spaceflight.
The 11 NASA astronauts who graduated for Artemis mission include Kayla Barron, Zena Cardman, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Bob Hines, Warren Hoburg, Dr. Jonny Kim, Jasmin Moghbeli, Loral O’Hara, Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, Jessica Watkins. The two CSA astronauts are Joshua Kutryk, Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons.
The training also included assignments to the International Space Station (ISS), Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars, NASA said in a press statement. Prior to this, NASA had shared details on how it is preparing potential astronauts for lower gravity environment of the Moon using its Neutral Buoyancy Lab which is located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The first class of astronauts under Artemis program were selected from a record-setting 18,000 applicants, NASA revealed. Spacewalking, robotics, International Space Station systems, T-38 jet proficiency, and Russian language were also part of the training. The NASA and CSA astronauts will join the rank of 500 people who have ever gone into space.
NASA has said the its Orion capsule is ready for the Artemis lunar mission. The crew capsule will head towards the lunar orbit by June 2020. It will be launched around the Moon on NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The spacecraft will take the crew to the lunar orbit and will return them to Earth as well.
NASA has also designed two new spacesuits for the Artemis program – Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) and Orion Crew Survival System. The former is built on the design of suits that are already worn by astronauts on the ISS, while the second one is a bright orange pressure suit that will be worn by astronauts when they launch into space on Orion and return to Earth.
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