It’s official: the commander of NASA’s Artemis II Mission to the moon will be Reid Wiseman, who is from Baltimore. This morning, from Houston, NASA named the four astronauts who will travel around the moon in a 10-day mission to launch as early as 2024. This will be NASA’s first crewed mission to the moon in over 50 years.
Wiseman attended Dulaney High School in Timonium, Baltimore County, before joining the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After his graduation in 1997, he was designated as a Naval Aviator in 1999. He received his Master of Science in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2006 and his Certificate of Space Systems from the US Naval Postgraduate School in in 2008. Selected in 2009 in the 20th NASA astronaut class, Wiseman served as chief of the Astronaut Office beginning in 2020. He stepped down in November of 2022 in order to join the Artemis crew.
This is not Wiseman’s first time traveling in space; in 2014, he spent 165 days in space as Flight Engineer for the International Space Station’s Expedition 41. Wiseman will be joined by astronauts Victor Glover and Christina Koch of NASA, as well as Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency.
Artemis II follows Artemis I, the successful test flight launched in November, in which the Orion spacecraft orbited the moon. In Artemis II, the crew will travel 600,000 miles to orbit the moon before returning to Earth. Artemis III is set to include a crewed lunar landing in 2025 or later.
Though the Artemis missions concern the moon, the program’s website states that the moon is “a stepping stone for Mars.” At the press conference, astronaut Victor Glover echoed that sentiment: “We need to celebrate this moment in human history because Artemis II is more than a mission to the moon and back. It’s more than a mission that has to happen before we send people to the surface of the moon. It is the next step on the journey that gets humanity to Mars.”
At the end of today’s announcement, Wiseman encouraged the audience to join him in saying NASA’s catchphrase for the mission: “We are going.”