Christian astronaut will pilot NASA's first crewed moon mission in over 50 years

(L-R) Astronauts Jeremy Hansen, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman and Christina Hammock Koch stand onstage after being selected for the Artemis II mission around the moon during a news conference held by NASA and CSA at Ellington Airport in Houston, Texas, on April 3, 2023. Traveling aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft during Artemis II, the mission is the first crewed flight test on the agency's path to establishing a long-term scientific and human presence on the lunar surface. | Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

A devout Christian astronaut will pilot NASA's first crewed trip around the moon in over 50 years as one of four people from two countries slated to make the trip next November.

In an announcement earlier this month, NASA named the crew for the Artemis II mission, which will include NASA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen. The mission is a 10-day-long flight test of NASA's Orion spacecraft.

Glover, who will be the pilot for the mission, was a former U.S. Navy commander who flew combat missions in Iraq and served as a legislative fellow to the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., before he joined NASA in 2013.

At the NASA event in Houston announcing the Artemis mission earlier this month, Glover said that he wanted "to thank God for this amazing opportunity,"  

Glover believes the celebration is about "so much more than the four names that have been announced."

"We need to celebrate this moment in human history," he said, adding the mission is meant to be "the next step on the journey that gets humanity to Mars."

"I pray that God will bless this mission, but I also pray that we can continue to serve as a source of inspiration, for cooperation and peace — not just between nations, but in our own nation," he added. 

Glover is a member of the Churches of Christ in the Houston area, having been profiled in The Christian Chronicle in 2020 when the astronaut was training for a six-month mission to the International Space Station. 

"I want to use the abilities that God has given me to do my job well and support my crewmates and mission and NASA," he told The Chronicle in 2020. "That's really the thing I think the most about."

Glover brought a Bible and communion cups to the station, saying he planned to engage in "virtual service, virtual giving, reading my Bible and praying."

In addition to Glover being the first African American to fly to the moon, Koch will be the first woman to do a lunar mission, while Hansen will be the first Canadian.

The minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, François-Philippe Champagne, said in a statement he is happy that "Canada is at the center of this exciting journey." 

"On behalf of all Canadians, I want to congratulate Jeremy for being at the forefront of one of the most ambitious human endeavors ever undertaken," Champagne stated. 

"Canada's participation in the Artemis program is not only a defining chapter of our history in space, but also a testament to the friendship and close partnership between our two nations."  

The first NASA moon landing ocurred in July 1969 through the Apollo 11 mission. The last crewed mission to the moon was Apollo 17, which was in December 1972. 

The crew of four scheduled to lift off next November will collaborate on work during the trip to execute a set of demonstrations for the flight test.

"I could not be prouder that these brave four will kickstart our journeys to the Moon and beyond," Director of Flight Operations Norm Knight of NASA Johnson Space Center said. 

"They represent exactly what an astronaut corps should be: a mix of highly capable and accomplished individuals with the skills and determination to take on any trial as a team. The Artemis II mission will be challenging, and we'll test our limits as we prepare to put future astronauts on the Moon. With Reid, Victor, Christina, and Jeremy at the controls, I have no doubt we're ready to face every challenge that comes our way."

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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