Artemis II: 2 former Navy pilots bring thousands of flight hours to historic moon mission
Stars and Stripes April 3, 2023
WASHINGTON — Three of the astronauts chosen to fly to the moon next year aboard Artemis II are former military pilots, and two were Navy aviators who have decades of collective flying experience.
NASA on Monday announced the Artemis II crew at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The four-person crew includes commander Gregory Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Jerome Glover, mission specialist Christina Koch and mission specialist and former Canadian air force pilot Jeremy Roger Hansen.
Wiseman, 47, started flying in the Navy in 1999 and piloted multiple aircraft, including the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Super Hornet. He also later became a test pilot and left the Navy as a captain.
“Following his initial training, Reid was assigned to Fighter Squadron 31 … and made two deployments to the Middle East, supporting Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom,” NASA said of Wiseman’s military service. “He was at sea when he was selected for astronaut training.”
Wiseman joined NASA in 2009 as part of the agency’s 20th astronaut group. Glover was part of the 21st group four years later.
Glover, 46, earned his wings in 2001 and also flew the F/A-18 Super Hornet, along with dozens of other aircraft. He flew in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the mid-2000s and later graduated from U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School as a Navy exchange pilot. He left the service as a captain.
“During the one-year experimental test piloting course, he flew more than 30 aircraft in the U.S. and Italy,” NASA said of Glover’s military background. “Glover accumulated 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft, over 400 carrier arrested landings and 24 combat missions.”
Following his selection on Monday, Glover — who will be the first Black man to leave low-Earth orbit and circle the moon — tweeted a photo that showed the flag patches on each crew member’s flight suit, three American flags and one Canadian.
Collectively, Glover and Wiseman have spent more than 330 days in space.
During his military service, Wiseman earned several awards and honors, including the Air Medal with Combat V, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is from Baltimore.
Glover earned the Defense Superior Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and a NASA Distinguished Service Medal. He is from the Los Angeles area.
Artemis I was an uncrewed flight that launched in November and spent 25 days in space, orbiting the moon several times before returning to Earth. Artemis II will take humans beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since Apollo 17 returned in 1972.
The main function of Artemis II is to test the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft with a human crew, and the mission will take Wiseman, Glover, Koch and Hansen for a “flyby” around the moon before they return to Earth. The crew, who will spend 10 days in space, is scheduled to launch in late 2024. Artemis III, the first human landing on the moon since 1972, is scheduled for late 2025.