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The United States announces a plan to transport an international astronaut to the moon

The United States announces a plan to transport an international astronaut to the moon

(CNN) — Vice President Kamala Harris announced that an international astronaut will land on the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

Although the United States has previously committed to bringing international astronauts to the moon on future Artemis missions, today’s announcement takes that commitment one step further by allowing one to actually walk on the moon’s surface, joining an elite club that has not even Now it only has 12 members.

“Today, in recognition of the essential role our allies and partners play in the Artemis program, I am proud to announce that, along with American astronauts, we intend to send an international astronaut to the Moon by the end of this decade,” Harris said. This came during a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House in Washington. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also attended the meeting.

Each Artemis lunar landing mission will accommodate four astronauts, but not all of them will set foot on the lunar surface. Only two astronauts will descend on each mission to the surface of the moon, while the remaining two astronauts will be limited to orbiting the moon in the Orion spacecraft or in a small space station called “Gateway.”

“NASA has committed to three opportunities for ESA astronauts to fly to Gateway, one opportunity for a Canadian Space Agency astronaut to fly to Gateway, one opportunity aboard Artemis 2, and one opportunity for a Japanese astronaut (JAXA) to fly to Gateway.” “Gateway,” a NASA official told CNN. “After Artemis II, these crew opportunities were not assigned to specific Artemis missions.”

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The Artemis 2 mission will be the first time a human orbits the Moon since the end of the Apollo program. The crew, scheduled to launch in November 2024, includes Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who introduced the vice president on Wednesday.

“NASA could have chosen to do this alone, but it deliberately chose to include Canada and a growing list of international partners. This extraordinary example of American leadership enhances our collective experience, and is not only sincerely appreciated, but desperately needed in today’s world.” Hansen said.

The first lunar lander mission, Artemis III, is not scheduled to launch until late 2025. However, that timeline has already been called into question, as the space agency is closely monitoring the development of the SpaceX rover that will serve as the lander for the lunar lander. . Artemis III transports astronauts to the moon’s surface.

“NASA will conduct specific crew assignments near each mission as mission parameters and crew parameters are determined,” the NASA official said.