Get a sneak peek inside the Artemis 2 spacecraft that will fly astronauts to the moon for the 1st time in 50 years (photos)

a silver cylindrical spacecraft inside a factory room
The protective backshell panels for the Artemis 2 Orion spacecraft at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Image credit: NASA)

You can now get a glimpse inside the spacecraft that will take humans to the moon for the first time in half a century.

NASA released new pictures of the Orion spacecraft that will fly around the moon on the Artemis 2 mission, which will lift off no earlier than September 2025 with four astronauts on board. 

The interior of Orion's crew cabin is being finalized at NASA's Kennedy Space Center  in Florida. Teams are also "installing protective backshell panels and insulation on the exterior, and preparing Orion for vacuum testing this spring," NASA officials stated on Tuesday (Feb. 13) on X, formerly Twitter.

Related: Astronauts won't walk on the moon until 2026 after NASA delays next 2 Artemis missions

The four Artemis 2 astronauts are NASA commander Reid Wiseman, NASA pilot Victor Glover (who will become the first Black person to leave low Earth orbit, or LEO), NASA mission specialist Christina Koch (the first woman to go beyond LEO) and Canadian Space Agency mission specialist Jeremy Hansen (the first non-American). 

An opening in the Orion spacecraft for Artemis 2 as the interior is under construction at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Image credit: NASA/X)

This quartet will be the first astronauts to use the Orion spacecraft. Orion vehicles have been to space twice before, but on uncrewed missions that did not have life-support components installed. 

Those two uncrewed flights were the Artemis 1 mission to lunar orbit in late 2022 and a brief trip to Earth orbit in 2014.

Windows surround the cockpit of the Orion spacecraft for Artemis 2, visible here during construction at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. (Image credit: NASA/X)

Artemis 2 will be the first astronaut mission of the Artemis program, which aims to land people on the moon with Artemis 3. Both Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 were delayed in January 2024 due to several technical issues, with Artemis 2 pushed back nine months  to September 2025 and Artemis 3 about a year, to 2026.

The greater Artemis program aims to build a settlement at the moon's south pole to take advantage of the water resources there. More than 30 countries have signed on to the NASA-led Artemis Accords, including Canada, to follow norms of peaceful space exploration and in some cases, provide hardware for moon missions.

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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 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:

  • Dave
    How did it all start? Landing on the moon. It was like any goal you wish to achieve, you establish a method then you set a date to achieve it. President Kennedy made a promise to us and then he set a date. No date set; no goal to achieve. Is there anyone today with the right stuff? Let's hope so.