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Southland native will blast off in latest lunar mission


Victor Glover part of project to return to moon

A Pomona native was chosen this week as one of four astronauts who will fly on a historic trip around the moon next year as part of NASA’s ambitious Artemis program to establish a lunar base as an outpost for future deep-space missions.

Victor Glover, who was born in Pomona and attended Ontario High School and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, will serve as pilot on the mission. He will be joined by commander Reid Wiseman and mission specialists Christina Hammock Koch and Jeremy Hansen. Glover, Wiseman and Koch are all NASA astronauts, while Hansen is with the Canadian Space Agency.

Glover will become the first person of color to take part in a lunar mission, while Koch will be the first woman and Hansen the first Canadian.

Glover spent more than five months aboard the International Space Station in 2020-21, traveling there aboard SpaceX’s first full crew rotation flight by a U.S. commercial spacecraft.

“The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity’s crew,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

“NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen, each have their own story, but, together, they represent our creed: E pluribus unum–out of many, one. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers–the Artemis Generation.”

The 10-day Artemis II mission, expected to launch in late 2024, will be the first manned flight as part of the Artemis program, and will test the capabilities of the new Orion spacecraft’s capabilities not only for spaceflight, but for supporting humans on long-term voyages.

It will mark the first time in more than 50 years that NASA has sent a spaceship to the moon, although the craft will not actually land on the lunar surface. The Artemis I mission was an uncrewed flight in December.

The Artemis program is ultimately envisioned as establishing an outpost on the lunar surface, and in orbit above the moon. The base is seen as a stopover for future long-range human missions into space, most notably to Mars.