To the moon: NASA announces lunar mission crew
The crew of Artemis II includes the first woman, the first Black person and the first Canadian to fly to the moon. It is the first such mission in some 50 years.
NASA has announced the astronauts due to take part in next year's Artemis II lunar mission, the first crewed mission since the historic Apollo explorations came to a close in 1972.
The mission includes three NASA astronauts, including the first woman, and the first Black to journey to the moon. All three have spent time on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Canadian Space Agency's Jeremy Hansen will be the first Canadian to fly to the moon. The journey will be his first space flight.
What do we know about the mission?
The Artemis mission was launched with the aim of returning US astronauts to the moon after some 50-year lull which has seen a recession in space activity.
Artemis II will be the first crewed flight around the moon. It is scheduled to be followed by another crewed flight that will include a moon landing, the first mission to land on the satellite since 1972's Apollo 17 mission.
"Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers — the Artemis Generation," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Monday during an event near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Nelson introduced the four astronauts, dressed in blue flight suits.
"Am I excited?" said Koch, the first female to take off to the moon. "Absolutely!"
The 44-year-old electrical engineer holds the record for the longest consecutive time spent in space by a woman, which is 11 months.
Back to the moon
NASA's Artemis program aims to send astronauts back to the moon in 2025. The plan is to establish a lasting human presence on the lunar surface, paving the way for an eventual voyage to Mars by 2040.
US President Joe Biden hailed Artemis's next mission as an inspiration for the "next generation of explorers."
The mission's first flight concluded last December. An uncrewed Orion capsule safely returned to Earth after a 25-day journey around the moon.
So far, only 12 astronauts, all men and white, have set foot on the moon.