This news has us over the moon!
NASA is gearing up to launch the first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972, and it’s been revealed that a Canadian astronaut will be on board. Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains, announced on December 16, 2020 that Canada has signed a new space exploration ‘Gateway Treaty’ with the United States, which includes sending a Canadian astronaut on NASA’s historic Artemis II mission. This means that Canada will be the second country in history to send an astronaut into deep space and fly around the Moon!
As part of the historic space exploration collaboration agreement, the Government of Canada will allocate $1.9 billion to the Lunar Gateway project, a partition of which will cover the Canadian astronauts’ Artemis II voyage, as well as a second flight for a Canadian to travel to the Lunar Gateway space station once it’s built.
NASA’s Artemis lunar missions are divided into three core phases:
Artemis I: NASA plans to first launch an uncrewed flight in 2021 to test the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft
Artemis II: NASA will send a crewed test flight, including a Canadian astronaut, into deep space and around the Moon in 2022–2023.
Artemis III: NASA expects to land astronauts, including the first woman and next man, on the Moon by 2024 and yearly thereafter.
With the ambitious Artemis program, NASA intends to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, while also using sustainable, innovative technologies to explore more of the Moon’s surface than ever before. The research conducted on the Moon is expected to focus on the impact of climate change on the Earth’s atmosphere and biomedical technologies, while also preparing for future travel further into space.
The Canadian Space Agency currently has four Canadian astronauts working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, but no decision has been made on exactly who will represent Canada on the upcoming Artemis lunar missions.
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