Artemis 2 moon astronaut says his 1st space launch will feel epic

The launch of the Artemis 1 Space Launch System rocket as seen from the press site at Kennedy Space Center.
The launch of the Artemis 1 Space Launch System rocket as seen from the press site at Kennedy Space Center. (Image credit: Josh Dinner)

One of the Artemis 2 astronauts will mark his first trip in space with a trip to the moon.

Canadian Space Agency mission specialist Jeremy Hansen recently shared in a video on X, formerly Twitter, how he and the rest of the Artemis 2 crew plan to get to the moon in 2024, including what he expects to feel on the big launch day.

"You can imagine what it's really going to be like to come up to the launch pad and have this living, breathing rocket full of fuel, moaning and groaning and creaking," Hansen said, reflecting on a launch day exercise his crew did on the mobile launch tower at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in September.

Related: NASA astronauts buzz Artemis 1 SLS rocket in incredible jet flyby (photos)

Artemis 2 is expected to launch four individuals around the moon in 2024 or so. Hansen will be joining a crew of three NASA astronauts who have all been to space before: commander Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover (the first person of color to leave low Earth orbit) and mission specialist Christina Koch (the first woman.)

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The Artemis 1 mission in late 2022 successfully tested out most of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket systems during a trip around the moon. Artemis 2 will take that a step further with humans on board, and will include a test of Orion's life support system for the first time.

To minimize risk, the crew plans to execute a series of progressively higher Earth orbit exercises before flying on to the moon. They will also circle the moon, but not orbit it, allowing for gravity to naturally bring them back to Earth after roughly nine days in space.

Much of the crew's time is spent developing procedures in the Orion simulator, Hansen said in the video. "It's still in development, (but) does some basic things," he noted.

After Artemis 2 will come Artemis 3, currently manifested for 2025 or 2026. The mission will touch down on the moon using SpaceX's Starship system, if it is ready in time. But between delays with Starship and with spacesuits being developed by Axiom Space, NASA's Government Accountability Office recently suggested 2027 may be a more realistic target.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace