The Artemis Missions: The Next Step Forward

NASA/Josh Valcarcel

More than 50 years after the final crew of the Apollo missions splashed down into the Pacific Ocean, NASA will mark humanity’s return to the Moon in 2025 with Artemis III. Since the last crewed lunar mission, Apollo 17, in December 1972, the world has been waiting for the moment when the next man and the first woman will set foot on the lunar surface.

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, devised the Artemis program to achieve this goal. Currently, the Artemis program consists of six missions from 2022 to 2029. The first of these launched late last year in November. According to the official NASA website, “Artemis I was the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Systems: the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.” Orion is currently the only human-rated spacecraft designed for deep space travel and is partially reusable, meaning it will be used for all of the Artemis missions.

Artemis I was an unmanned flight test, identifying Artemis II as the first manned flight of the program. The goals of Artemis II are to launch the crew on a flyby mission and collect data on Orion and the crew’s performance to assess the readiness of the Artemis program to send people to the lunar surface. The second mission is scheduled to launch in November 2024; however, the launch date depends on a few primary items. NASA continues to evaluate the data collected through the initial Artemis mission to make changes for Artemis II. Additionally, the new spacesuits that are in development might be delayed. Right now, the Orion spacecraft is scheduled to be launched at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in late 2024 without any delays.

The four astronauts that comprise this crew are Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialists Christian Koch and Jeremy Hansen. Before being announced as a crew member of Artemis II, Reid Wiseman served as Chief of the Astronaut Office right around the time Artemis I was launched. Pilot Victor Glover is a NASA astronaut of the class of 2013 who previously was part of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission and participated in several International Space Station (ISS) expeditions. Another astronaut, Jermey Hansen, is one of the four Canadian astronauts currently active and has a wide range of experiences under his belt. Most notably, Christina Koch will be the first woman to partake in a lunar mission. She holds many historic achievements, such as breaking the record for the longest time spent in space by a woman with 328 days at the International Space Station.

The Artemis II mission has an exceptionally accomplished group of individuals. Although the Artemis III crew has not yet been announced, NASA has stated that the crew will include four astronauts again. The future of Artemis missions III and IV depends on the success of Artemis II. Hopes are high for this program as the contributions and talents of multiple space agencies and private companies will be tested through this momentous mission.

Works Cited

“Artemis I.” NASA, NASA, 3 Aug. 2023, 

Howell, Elizabeth. “NASA’s Artemis 2 Mission: Everything You Need to Know.” Space.Com, Space, 18 Aug. 2022,

Mohon, Lee. “Artemis III: NASA’s First Human Mission to the Lunar South Pole.” NASA, NASA, 13 Jan. 2023,

Wendel, JoAnna. “Christina Hammock Koch: Record-Breaking NASA Astronaut.” Space.Com, Space, 25 Oct. 2021,