NASA selected SpaceX to develop a lunar-optimized Starship to land Artemis astronauts on the Moon by 2025. The spacecraft is referred to as the Starship Human Landing System (HLS). In 2020, the agency assigned 18 astronauts that will be part of the Artemis lunar exploration program which includes 9 women and 9 men that come from varying backgrounds, their names are listed in the photo below. NASA has not yet revealed who will specifically be the first woman and next man to set foot on the lunar surface during the Artemis III mission, it just assigned the astronauts for a voyage around the Moon during the Artemis II mission, as previously reported by TESMANIAN. Read more: NASA & Canadian Space Agency reveal the Artemis II Astronauts that will go on a journey around the Moon
Image: Starship Human Landing System | Source: SpaceX
Image Source: NASA
Some of the NASA Artemis program astronauts met with the 10th Apollo astronaut who walked on the Moon, according to NASA astronaut Raja Chari. “Going to lunar South Pole will be hard, so what better way for NASA Artemis to learn than connecting w/[ith] past. NASA Astronauts & SpaceX engineers met w/[ith] Apollo 16 pilot Charlie Duke [at] NASA Johnson [space center] to talk about lunar lander design & his lessons landing on/exploring lunar surface,” shared Chari via Twitter. “It’s mind boggling to me what his generation accomplished w/[ith] slide rules & elegant, ingenious design solutions. Even w/[ith] decades of computing advancements we’re still making some of the same design trades they did & understanding their logic from Apollo helps us make Artemis better,” he said on June 3rd. Chari shared a set of photos of their meeting (linked below) but did not release additional details about their specific discussion.
Going to lunar South Pole will be hard, so what better way for @NASAArtemis to learn than connecting w/ past. @NASA_Astronauts & @SpaceX engineers met w/ #Apollo16 pilot Charlie Duke @NASA_Johnson to talk about lunar lander design & his lessons landing on/exploring lunar surface.… pic.twitter.com/EmgJNVOR6Z— Raja Chari (@Astro_Raja) June 3, 2023
Charlie Duke, whose full name is Charles Moss Duke Jr., is a former NASA astronaut and retired United States Air Force officer. He was born on October 3, 1935, in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. Duke is best known for his role as the lunar module pilot for Apollo 16, which was NASA's 5th manned mission to the Moon. In April 1972, Duke flew to the Moon aboard the Apollo 16 spacecraft. During the mission, he spent over 71 hours on the lunar surface, conducting scientific experiments and exploring the ‘Descartes Highlands’ region of the Moon with mission commander John W. Young. Duke was the 10th person to walk on the Moon and the youngest astronaut to have traveled to the lunar surface; he was 36 years old during the mission, now, he is 87 years old. After his NASA career, Duke retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of brigadier general. He has since been involved in various business ventures and has been active in promoting space exploration and education. Charlie Duke remains an important figure in the history of space exploration and the Apollo program.
Image: Apollo 16 Astronaut Charlie Duke salutes the U.S. flag on the Moon. | Source: NASA
NASA and SpaceX are working to return humans to the Moon within this decade. SpaceX engineers are developing the Starship launch vehicle at the Starbase facility in Boca Chica Beach, Texas, where it is undergoing extensive testing. Engineers are conducting pre-flight preparations to perform the second orbital test flight attempt this year. The company expects to conduct dozens of test flights and cargo missions before launching humans in the coming years.
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Image: Apollo 16 Astronaut Charlie Duke explores Plum Crater on the Lunar Surface. | Source: NASA
Featured Images Source: NASA Astronaut Raja Chari via Twitter
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.