The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced on April 3rd that a Canadian astronaut will be launched into space and will orbit the moon in the first lunar mission since the Apollo program ended in 1975.
47-year-old Jeremy Hansen, who grew up in small-town Ontario, will actually be the very first ever Canadian astronaut to have the honour of being aboard a lunar mission. He and three others will fly around the moon as a part of NASA’s Artemis II mission.
Hansen’s role on the mission is ‘Mission Specialist 2’. A Mission Specialist’s role usually revolves around the operations of the spacecraft’s systems but the job title is broad enough that Hansen will likely have a hand in all onboard operations.
Artemis II will earn Canada a spot in the history books as the second country to ever send an astronaut around the moon.
The goal of this mission is to ultimately take the first steps toward a sustainable human presence on the moon’s surface.
“Being part of the Artemis II crew is both exciting and humbling,” said Hansen. “I’m excited to leverage my experience, training, and knowledge to take on this challenging mission on behalf of Canada.”
“I’m humbled by the incredible contributions and hard work of so many Canadians that have made this opportunity a reality. I am proud and honoured to represent my country on this historic mission.”
Canadian astronauts and scientists have played numerous roles in the CSA’s contributions to space exploration throughout the years.
Since the 1980s, nine CSA astronauts have flown in space 17 times, the lunar module that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin piloted to the moon’s surface in 1969 was largely designed by Canadians and much of the gear and technology was created by Canadians on earlier missions that orbited earth.
The Artemis II mission will take 10-days to complete and it will act as a pseudo test-flight for the next mission which could see astronauts take the first steps on the moon since 1972’s Apollo 17 mission.
As of last month, the launch date for the Artemis II mission is slated for November 2024.