- NASA further opens up Artemis moon missions to all astronauts with no specific team.
- The list of eligible astronauts appears to have expanded in recent months, as NASA modified lifetime radiation exposure requirements to give equal assessments regardless of age or gender.
On 8th Aug, the agency announced that NASA would consider every agency astronaut for Artemis moon missions when it makes seat assignments. This step rolls back a 2020 announcement that selected 18 astronauts for these missions, then called “the Artemis Team” by NASA.
The agency released the news as the Artemis 1 mission prepares to return to the pad on 18th Aug for a launch to the moon no earlier than 29th Aug. That mission will test the Space Launch System (SLS) mega rocket and Orion spacecraft to get ready for future crewed missions to the lunar surface.
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Head of the astronaut office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, pledged the Artemis 2 assignments would be announced shortly, saying astronauts will be beating down the door to get a spot for all upcoming moon missions. He noted that the Artemis 2 assignments are scheduled to launch later and no earlier than 2024.
The list of eligible astronauts appears to have expanded in recent months, as NASA modified lifetime radiation exposure requirements to give equal assessments regardless of age or gender.
Women astronauts said they faced discrimination under the old requirements in the past, which allowed men to accrue more radiation and, in turn, more time in space.
All genders of all ages will be eligible for the Artemis moon mission, with the current astronaut corps ranging between their 20s and 60s. Artemis 2 will include a Canadian on board in exchange for the nation’s commitment to building a robotic arm called Canadarm3 to service the Gateway space station.
No other international astronaut slot is confirmed for that first Artemis moon mission so far, which will see a crew in lunar orbit ahead of the Artemis 3 crewed landing. European and Japanese astronauts may be contenders for either Artemis 2 or Artemis 3, given their country’s immense contributions to the program.
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