‘We are going to the moon’: Jeremy Hansen will be first Canadian astronaut to orbit the moon

‘We are going to the moon’: Jeremy Hansen will be first Canadian astronaut to orbit the moon

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Jeremy Hansen, a former fighter pilot from London, Ont., will become the first Canadian to orbit the moon.

On Monday, Hansen was named as part of the four-person crew for NASA’s Artemis II mission, the program’s first crewed mission to travel to the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. The Artemis II is scheduled to launch in November 2024.

It paves the way for the Artemis III mission to return to the surface of the moon targeted for 2025.

The other three members of the crew, mission specialist Christina Koch, pilot Victor Glover and commander Reid Wiseman are all American.

“I am left in awe of being reminded what strong leadership, setting big goals, with a passion to collaborate and a can-do attitude can achieve, and we are going to the moon together,” Hansen said after the announcement. “Let’s go!”

Hansen, 47, was chosen from the Canadian Space Agency’s pool of active astronauts, which also includes David Saint-Jacques, 53, an engineer and astrophysicist from Saint-Lambert, Que.; Joshua Kutryk, 41, a fighter pilot and engineer from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.; and Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons, 34, a mechanical engineer and combustion scientist from Calgary.

After liftoff from pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the crew, aboard one of NASA’s Orion spacecraft will circle the Earth twice before heading for the moon.

There it will circle the moon — potentially travelling further away from the earth than any human in history ever has — before returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean of the U.S. west coast. The exact distance is yet to be determined, but the unmanned Artemis I which circled the moon in 2022, travelled 2.1 million kilometres on its 25-day mission and reached a maximum distance from Earth of 432,210 kilometres.

The Artemis II mission is planned for 10 days.

Ultimately NASA plans to build an Artemis Base Camp on the moon and a Gateway in lunar orbit supporting long-term scientific research and facilitating more human exploration on and around the Moon.

With files from The Canadian Press

Steve McKinley is a Halifax-based reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @smckinley1

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