Astronauts and astronauts who are from NASA along with The Canadian Space Agency headed out to Launch Pad 39-B on Sunday to capture photos prior to the launch date of the first lunar space mission under the Artemis program. It will open the way to future crewed flights that will be crewed, with Artemis II expecting to fly four astronauts on one orbital flight to the moon by 2024. The mission is anticipated to comprise three NASA astronauts as well as an astronaut from Canadian and crew members to be announced before the time of the year’s end according to NASA astronaut Stan Love.
A group of blue-suited space veterans with others who have yet to reach space were present at the Kennedy Space Center this weekend to see the enormous Artemis I rocket on the launch pad. Love was there alongside NASA astronauts Joe Acaba (a former Central Florida science teacher), Victor Glover, Don Pettit, Jessica Meir, Shannon Walker, Kate Rubins, Reid Wiseman, Stephanie Wilson, Zena Cardman, and Randy Bresnik.
In addition, KSC included NASA astronauts Christina Birch, Jack Hathaway, Andre Douglas, Chris Williams as well as Jessica Wittner. Also, members of the Canadian Space Agency were Jeremy Hansen and Joshua Kutryk.
The year 2020 was the one in which NASA named the 18 first-ever astronauts to its collection of Artemis missions. Its Artemis III mission aims to get the next two astronauts on the moon, as well as the first woman on Moon for the first time after Apollo 17 in 1972.
The 18 mentioned of them are Acaba, Glover, Rubins, Meir, and Wilson who are all present this weekend, as well as astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Woody Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Jasmin Moghbeli, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle along with Jessica Watkins. Lindgren along with Watkins is on the International Space Station and Mann is scheduled to take off to the ISS during the Crew-5 flight on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon that is coming from KSC as early as October. 3.
In the following days, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said these were only the beginning, with more to be added, but among the three will be three who will fly to the moon but will not be landing, in Artemis II. There are currently 42 astronauts who are part of NASA’s NASA Astronaut Corps.
If asked how many people are competing for these and other Artemis lunar landings, Love, who became a NASA astronaut back in 1998, and flew aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-122 declared, “42. Every one of us. … I’m hoping and everyone in our office has hope. We’ll wait and see the outcome.” He stated that the company he’s expecting to serve as CAPCOM on Artemis II.
Meir shared an Instagram photo of her rocket-related rendezvous on Sunday, stating “This morning, I got my first glimpse of the complete #Artemis1 rocket and I’m stunned particularly when I share it with a friend and new NASA Astronauts! The years of dreaming and the incredible effort at @NASA have resulted in a successful launch – we are getting ready!”
Only 12 people have been on the moon, and all in six Apollo landings in 1969 and 1972. Two of the last two astronauts to walk who walked on the lunar surface comprised Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt who left the lunar surface in December. 14, 1972.
Schmitt has 87 years old and is scheduled to attend today’s launch, along together with Apollo 10 astronaut Thomas Stafford, 91. They both orbited the moon.
Schmitt is among only four people alive today who have been on the moon, alongside Buzz Aldrin, 92, the second man to walk on the moon. The other two are Apollo 15’s David Scott, 90, and Apollo 16’s Charles Duke, 86.
A few more astronauts who went to the moon but didn’t make it to the moon in the moon, are also alive. These comprise Apollo 8? Frank Borman, 94, Apollo 8 and 13?s Jim Lovell, 94, Apollo 8?s Bill Anders, 88, Apollo 10?s Stafford, Apollo 13?s Fred Haise, the 88-year-old as well Apollo 16?’s Ken Mattingly, 86.