Humanity has not returned to the Moon in half a century. Only 12 people have walked on the lunar surface, all of them as part of NASA's Apollo program that took place between July 1969 and December 1972. SpaceX is working to return NASA astronauts to the lunar surface by 2025 as part of the agency's Artemis program. In Greek mythology Artemis is Apollo's twin sister, the new spaceflight program's name is suitable because women will land on lunar surface for the first time in history.
The aerospace company is developing a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS) to land astronauts safely on Luna’s gray terrain. SpaceX aims to have a space-ready Starship by 2023 to conduct the first circumlunar voyage that will test the spacecraft and life support technologies. Next year, we can expect to see SpaceX’s Starship manufacturing and iteration pace increase to rapidly develop the launch vehicle. The first orbital flight test attempt is planned for January or February 2022, with potentially a dozen more test flights to follow that will provide engineers with insight to speed up the spacecraft’s development.
SpaceX’s Starship HLS will enable NASA to build humanity’s first permanent base on the Moon, where scientists from all around the world will be able to partner with NASA to conduct research. The Starship spacecraft is under development at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas, where the first Starship/Super Heavy-class launch tower is nearing construction completion (pictured below). The company also has plans to build a Starship launch tower at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex-39A, in the same area where the Apollo astronauts launched to the moon. Read more: SpaceX Will Build A Starship Orbital Launch Tower At NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Historic Launch Complex-39A
NASA already selected the astronauts who will be part of the Artemis program. The agency shared photographs of the next 18 people destined to make history when they land on the Moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship. Nine women and nine men were selected to usher in the next era in space exploration. They all come from a variety of ethnicities and education. The nine women are: Kayla Barron, Jessica Watkins, Christina H. Koch, Stephanie Wilson, Anne McClain, Nicole A. Mann, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, and Kate Rubins. The nine men are: Raja Chari, Victor Glover, Kjell Lindgren, Joseph Acaba, Mathew Dominick, Warren Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Frank Rubio, and Scott Tingle. Most of these astronauts have experience on spaceflights to the International Space Station (ISS) and/or have a U.S. military background. To learn details about each astronaut visit: Artemis Team.
Recently, on December 10, NASA announced more astronauts that could potentially fly to the Moon after the previously mentioned astronauts complete their lunar missions. The new class of astronauts consists of six men and four women that were selected out of over 12,000 qualified individuals who applied to become an astronaut in March of 2020. The ten newly selected astronauts will train to conduct future missions to the Space Station but could potentially work on our closest celestial neighbor one day. The 10 new NASA astronauts are: Nichole Ayers, Marcos Berríos, Christina Birch, Deniz Burnham, Luke Delaney, Andre Douglas, Jack Hathaway, Anil Menon, Christopher Williams, and Jessica Wittner (pictured below). They will be trained to fly aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner spacecraft to conduct science research at ISS. As 2024 rapidly approaches, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson suggested that the new astronauts could be selected for voyages to the Moon. “…We welcome 10 new explorers — 10 members of the Artemis generation,” Nelson said during the announcement ceremony. “It was the Apollo generation, and that did so much for so many. Now it’s the Artemis generation.”
Photo Left to Right: Nichole Ayers, Christopher Williams, Luke Delaney, Jessica Wittner, Anil Menon, Marcos Berríos, Jack Hathaway, Christina Birch, Deniz Burnham, and Andre Douglas. / Source: NASA
Featured Image Source: SpaceX & NASA Artemis logo
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.