The Canadian who will fly to the Moon announced on Monday
Canada will become the second country, after the United States, to send an astronaut to the Moon.
The Canadian who will participate in the Artemis II mission will be known on Monday, April 3.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will announce on Monday morning the names of the four astronauts – including a Canadian – who will participate in the first manned lunar mission since the end of the Apollo program in 1972.
During the Artemis II mission, the Orion capsule will reach the orbit of the Moon, but no crew member will tread its surface.
We are very proud and we feel a lot of excitement, says Mathieu Caron, Director of Astronauts, Life Sciences and Space Medicine at the CSA, who will participate in the announcement during a press conference to be held at 11 a.m. (EDT) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
The last time a Canadian went into space was in 2018-19 with David Saint- Jacques during a mission to the International Space Station, recalls Mr. Caron.
“This is the first time a non-American will go higher than ISS altitude. We can't wait to see this mission come to fruition. »
— Mathieu Caron, CSA
The Agency's astronaut team Canadian Space Agency in 2017. From left to right: Jeremy Hansen, Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, Joshua Kutryk and David Saint-Jacques.
The next lunar mission is certainly a dream assignment for active Canadian astronauts. And the four are ready for the mission, assures Mathieu Caron.
The candidates :
- Born January 1976 in London, Ontario
- CF-18 fighter pilot
- Waiting for first mission
- Born March 1982 in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
- Fighter pilot, engineer, lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force
- Waiting for a first mission
- Born August 1988 in Calgary, Alberta
- Mechanical engineer, combustion researcher, assistant professor
- Waiting for a first mission
- Born in 1970 in Quebec City, Quebec
- Engineer in physics
- Doctor in astrophysics
- Mission: from December 3, 2018 to early June 2019 (Soyuz)
Canadian astronauts come from a variety of backgrounds. They have undergone a basic training of approximately two years which aims to raise them to the same level of knowledge and skills on a host of subjects, including: the history of spaceflight, the fundamentals of spaceflight, space procedures and operations, Earth observation, space robotics, human behavior, first aid and notions of survival.
All four are medically and technically qualified to participate in the mission, Caron said, adding that they are already on NASA's astronaut team.
The CSA and NASA have jointly chosen the person who will participate in Artemis II. This is an internal selection process that took place over several years as we developed the Artemis systems. This helped ensure that we have the right team in the capsule, adds Mr. Caron.
The Canadian astronaut will be a flight engineer during the Artemis II mission. He will have to undergo additional training which will be spread over 18 months.
This training will be different from that followed by astronauts going to the ISS. If part of the learning of the different systems and instruments of the Orion capsule will take place in a classroom, the four astronauts selected will have to undergo numerous simulations.
They will familiarize themselves with the systems of the Orion capsule, but also with crucial aspects of the mission, such as the launch and the return to Earth – the splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
The return of the Orion capsule during Artemis I, December 11, 2022.
Astronauts will practice emergency evacuations to get out of the capsule quickly if something goes wrong, Caron said.
“There will also be a lot of training on what actions to take under different return scenarios. For example, what if water seeps into the capsule upon landing? »
— Mathieu Caron, Canadian Space Agency
All scenarios will be studied, from when everything goes well until when everything goes wrong! underlines Mr. Caron.
This Canadian presence in the Orion capsule is not a godsend. Canada is designing the Canadarm 3 intelligent robotic system to be installed on the future Gateway lunar space station.
Artistic illustration of Canadarm 3, the Canadian intelligent robotic system that will be installed at the Gateway lunar station.
Thanks to this participation in the Artemis program, Canada is granted two seats on flights to the Moon and possible scientific experiments on board Gateway. The other Canadian will take part in a mission later in the program.
Towards a return of humans to the Moon. Our file dedicated to the Artemis program
The Artemis program has three components. The first, which took place at the end of 2022, tested the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft without an astronaut on board. In addition, Artemis I was the opportunity to successfully test Orion's heat shield, the largest ever built at 5 meters in diameter.
The second part will take place from November 2024. Artemis II will resume the course of the first flight, but this time with a crew. NASA engineers will analyze the data collected on all systems and flight instruments, to ensure the success of the third component, which will reach a higher level of complexity.
According to current program plans, two of the four Artemis III crew astronauts will reach the lunar surface starting in 2025. first woman and a first person of color should set foot on the lunar soil at this time or during future missions that will be announced.
The Gateway lunar space station (artistic illustration).
In addition, NASA plans to build Gateway, a lunar orbital station whose first modules could be assembled as early as 2026. In the longer term, the space agency hopes to build a permanent base directly on the Moon.
All of these NASA missions are part of a longer-term desire to send manned missions into deep space. The agency also announced on March 30 the creation of a program whose objective is to prepare a long-term lunar presence, necessary for the next great challenge of humanity: to reach the surface. Of March.
NASA hopes to send missions to Mars in the coming decades.