A first Canadian on the moon: a year before Artemis II – Radio-Canada.ca

The countdown is running. One year from now, in November 2024, Jeremy Hansen will become the first Canadian to reach space: into orbit around the moon. The astronauts of the Artemis II mission, a NASA-led program, are training in preparation for this historic mission.

Artemis II mission team members pose together.

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The Artemis II mission team consists of three American astronauts and one Canadian astronaut.

Photo: NASA

Three American astronauts, Christina Koch, Gregory Reid Wiseman and Victor J. Glover, will board the Orion capsule. Artemis II’s fourth passenger and mission specialist will be Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

This is the first space mission for the 47-year-old Ontario native, but also a major first for the Canadian Space Agency. While many Canadian astronauts have flown aboard space shuttles and stayed on the International Space Station (ISS), this is actually the first time a Canadian has traveled this far into space aboard a lunar mission.

Being the second country in the world to send an astronaut into space is something special [dont on peut] be proud.

However, it is no coincidence that Canada received such a unique invitation from NASA, a key partner of CSA for decades. From the contribution of Canadian astronauts to the engineers who designed the two Canadian weapons essential to the Space Shuttle missions and the construction of the ISS, the American agency has always been able to rely on Canadian expertise to help to claim the conquest of space against their opponents.

Canada’s role is considered exceptional. “We are the world experts in space robotics. There is no one who builds robots that work in space like Canada,” explains Charles Tisseyre, host of Découverte.

Jeremy Hansen proudly wears the Canadian flag on his uniform during his training at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. For now, the astronauts are focused on testing the various flight simulators to test everything before the mission.

“This is the first time we’ve had people on this rocket and in the Orion capsule, so we’ll be doing a lot of testing,” adds mission specialist Jeremy Hansen. The Canadian astronaut therefore reminds us that the Artemis II mission is only a first step towards recapturing the moon.

Artemis 2 is just the next step. Artemis 3, 4, 5: We will do extraordinary things.

Mathieu Caron, director of astronauts at the ASC, recalls that Artemis 2 will lay the foundation for future missions.

It’s a new program, it’s a new rocket, it’s a new capsule. So the training is under development. Jeremy not only leads the training, but also ultimately contributes to what the training will look like for Artemis II and the next missions to the moon, explains Mathieu Caron.

Artemis and the Reconquest of the Moon

The SLS rocket on the launch pad.

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The SLS rocket will carry the Artemis II team to the moon in November 2024.

Photo: NASA

After a first unmanned test flight in 2022, the mission in which Jeremy Hansen will take part will be the first manned test flight of the Artemis program. The program’s third mission will see astronauts set foot on the moon for the first time since the end of the Apollo program in 1972.

NASA then aims to establish a permanent presence around the moon thanks to the Gateway lunar space station, inspired by the International Space Station. Ultimately, the goal of the Artemis missions is to pave the way for human exploration of Mars.

​​The moon is a great training and testing ground to prepare for the flight to the planet Mars. – Charles Tisseyre, host of Découverte

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As with several NASA programs, Canada plays an essential role in this new phase of space exploration. Ontario-based MDA will build a third Canadian arm that will be installed on the Gateway lunar space station. The intelligent robot arm, which is 8.5 meters long, will be able to operate completely autonomously and without human intervention.

A robotic arm in space.

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The Canadian Arm 3, which will be installed on the Gateway Station, is inspired by the Arm 3 already installed on the International Space Station.

Photo: Alberto Bertolin, Bradley Reynolds

Another Ontario company, Canadensys Aerospace Corporation, is responsible for developing Canada’s first rover to explore the moon. Thanks to industrial and academic partners across the country, the Canadian rover will contribute to the search for water ice, a key element of space exploration.

Jeremy Hansen and his son Devon pilot a Canadian lunar rover prototype.

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Robotics is one of Canadians’ areas of expertise.

Photo: ASC

One year before the scheduled launch of the Artemis II mission, Jeremy Hansen remains grounded, making numerous appearances in schools and in the media to inform and inspire future generations.

His message also resonates with his own children: They understand the need to aim big and they are proud of Canada, and that’s important to me, he adds.

Artemis II will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in November 2024 and will carry four astronauts, including a Canadian, with their eyes set on the next stage of space conquest.