ESA has revealed the astronaut candidates for the Artemis II lunar mission.


Seven astronauts have been selected by the European Space Agency to prepare for NASA’s Artemis moon mission, but only one will get the opportunity to become the first European to set foot on the moon.

The contenders have all successfully completed at least one voyage to the International Space Station: France’s Thomas Pesquet, Britain’s Tim Peake, Germany’s Alexander Gerst and Matthias Maurer, Italy’s Luca Parmitano and Samantha Cristoforetti, and Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen.

According to ESA communications head Philippe Willekens, the crew has spent 98 hours in space and 4.5 years in orbit together. He made the announcement to media at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris.

To go to a station that will circle the Moon, three astronauts will be chosen.

However, only one person will step foot on the moon before the end of the decade. The ESA will eventually have to choose which of the seven applicants will be removed.

Pesquet told reporters at the ceremony in Paris, “We are all contenders and it is vital to go there as a team.

He said, “Look, we’re all wearing the same shirt.” The ESA and Artemis insignia were on navy blue polo shirts that Pesquet, Gerst, Maurer, and Parmitano all wore to the event.

After being the first European woman to spacewalk outside the station in July, Cristoforetti is presently aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where she had to make a video call from.

As he is ready to do his own trip of the ISS, Mogensen also gave a video interview.

For Europe, something inspirational

Several technical issues, including fuel leaks, have caused the launch of the first Artemis mission, which intends to test the new rocket system and Orion capsule, to be postponed. NASA is currently planning a launch for September 27.

The third mission, scheduled to launch in 2025, will be the first time since 1972 that men will step foot on the moon. Artemis 2 will transport astronauts to the moon without making a surface landing.

The Orion capsule’s European Service Module is provided by ESA.

ESA’s head of human and robotic exploration, David Parker, told AFP that three ESA astronauts would go to the Lunar Gateway, the permanent outpost that the agency is constructing orbiting the Moon, this decade.

And by the end of this decade, he said, “if everything goes as planned, we will be prepared to send the first European astronaut to the Moon.”

It would be “exciting for Europe, a strong signal to say, ‘We are here, taking our position in the space realm in a cooperative way,'” to send a European to the moon. said Pesquet.

“I hope that a united Europe will become a reality today with a European on the moon,” Maurer added.

A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts launched on a Russian-operated journey to the International Space Station on Wednesday, despite significant tensions between Russia and the West about Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine.


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