Meet the first Canadian astronaut set to orbit the moon

Apr 3 2023, 5:11 pm

NASA has just announced the names of the crew members headed for the moon, and one of them is a Canadian astronaut.

During a livestream event on Monday, April 3, the agency introduced the crew members chosen for the Artemis II, a roughly 10-day mission into deep space that’s set to launch in 2024.

Jeremy Hansen, 47, is set to make history as the first Canadian to venture to the moon. It’s also the first mission to the moon in almost 50 years.

In addition to Mission Specialist 2 Hansen, the crew will include Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialist 1 Christina Hammock Koch.

Artemis II crew, from left: NASA Astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Jeremy Hansen (Josh Valcarcel/NASA)

He tweeted, “I am honoured to represent Canada as a member of #Artemis II on the first crewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft around the Moon.”

Hansen was born in London, Ontario, and grew up on a farm near Ailsa Craig. The father of three has a master of science in physics and was a fighter pilot before joining the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

“There are two reasons why a Canadian is going to the moon — that makes me smile when I say that,” he said with a grin.

The first reason, he said, is due to America’s leadership that seeks out others who can contribute.

The second: “It’s Canada’s can-do attitude.”

Jeremy Hansen/Canadian Space Agency

Hansen credits the thousands of Canadians and their contribution to space exploration.

“All of those have added up to this moment where a Canadian is going to the moon with our international partnership and it is glorious,” he said.

Following the unmanned Artemis I mission launched in November 2022, the Artemis II is a test mission where the crew will “test and stress” the Orion spacecraft’s life-support systems required to live and work in deep space.

The Orion is set to be the most powerful spacecraft ever built.

It will launch on 8.8 million pounds of thrust and will take the crew to the far side of the moon. Koch explained that the spaceship will then head back to Earth at over 25,000 miles per hour before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, who was at the event, stated in a tweet, “Canada’s role in space will not only inspire the next generation of explorers but also benefit our everyday lives here on Earth.”

In an interview on the CSA website, Hansen explained that he chose to become an astronaut because he was excited to accomplish “the seemingly impossible.”

“I like the fact that in space, we are committed to bold goals to the extent that we will not let periodic failure stop our forward progress,” he said.

Irish Mae SilvestreIrish Mae Silvestre

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