Artemis 2
Summary of the Artemis 2 mission plan
NamesArtemis 2
Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2)
Mission typeCrewed lunar flyby
Mission duration10 days (planned)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftOrion CM-003
Crew size4
MembersReid Wiseman
Victor Glover
Christina Koch
Jeremy Hansen
Start of mission
Launch dateSeptember 2025 (planned)[1]
RocketSLS Block 1
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B[2]
End of mission
Recovered byU.S. Navy
(San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock)
Landing dateSeptember 2025
Landing sitePacific Ocean (planned)
Flyby of Moon
Distance6,400 mi (10,300 km) (planned)[3]

Official Crew Portrait (Clockwise from left) Koch, Glover, Hansen, Wiseman 

Artemis 2 (officially Artemis II)[4] is a scheduled mission of the NASA-led Artemis program. It will use the second launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) and include the first crewed mission of the Orion spacecraft. The mission is scheduled for no earlier than September 2025.[1] Four astronauts will perform a flyby of the Moon and return to Earth, becoming the first crew to travel beyond low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972. Artemis 2 will be the first crewed launch from Launch Complex 39B of the Kennedy Space Center since STS-116 in 2006.

Originally designated Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2), the mission was intended to collect samples from a captured asteroid in lunar orbit by the now-canceled robotic Asteroid Redirect Mission;[5] it was renamed after the introduction of the Artemis program.


See also: Asteroid Redirect Mission

In 2017, Exploration Mission-2 was a projected single-launch mission of a Space Launch System (SLS) Block 1B with an Exploration Upper Stage, lunar Block 1 Orion spacecraft, and a payload insertion of 50.7 t (55.9 short tons; 112,000 lb). The plan was to rendezvous with an asteroid previously placed in lunar orbit by the robotic Asteroid Redirect Mission and have astronauts perform space-walks and gather samples.[6] After the cancellation in April 2017[7] of the Asteroid Redirect Mission, an 8-day mission was proposed with a crew of four astronauts, sent on a free-return trajectory around the Moon.[8] Another proposal suggested in 2017 was to take four astronauts aboard Orion on an 8-to-21–day trip around the Moon to deliver the first element of the Deep Space Gateway.[9] In March 2018, it was decided to launch the first Gateway module on a commercial launch vehicle[10] because of delays in building the Mobile Launcher needed to hold the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage.[11] The launcher was selected to be the Falcon Heavy.[12]

Artist's rendition of the Orion spacecraft in lunar orbit

On 11 February 2023, NASA flipped the engine section for the Artemis 2 core to horizontal, the final major milestone before mating the section to the rest of the vehicle. On March 20, the engine section was mated with the Artemis 2 core stage in Building 103 at the Michoud Assembly Facility. NASA expected the core stage, complete with engines, to be delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in summer 2023.[13] In May, they pushed the delivery date five months back to late fall 2023.[14][15] As of April 2024, this has still not happened. The RS-25 engines now installed on the core stage in New Orleans as of September 25, 2023 have serial numbers E2047, E2059, E2062, and E2063.[16][17]

The crew was announced on April 3, 2023, as stated by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, in his "State of NASA" speech reacting to President Joe Biden's FY2024 budget proposal.[18] The announcement occurred at a special event at a NASA facility at Ellington Field outside Houston.[19] They appeared later that day at nearby NRG Stadium for the 2023 March Madness championship game.[20]

Proposed secondary payloads

MPCV Stage Adapter for CubeSat spring-loaded dispensers

NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) sought proposals in 2019 from U.S. institutions and U.S. companies to fly their CubeSat missions as secondary payloads aboard the SLS on the Artemis 2 mission.[21][22] NASA would accept proposals for both 6-unit (12 kg, 26 lb) and 12-unit (20 kg, 44 lb) CubeSats.[23] As with the Artemis 1 mission, the CubeSats flying on Artemis 2 were to be mounted on the inside of the stage adapter ring between the SLS upper stage and the Orion spacecraft, and will be deployed after Orion separates.[23] Selections were initially planned to be made by February 2020,[21] but in October 2021, NASA dropped all secondary payloads from the mission.[24]

Launch date

During preliminary reviews in 2011, the launch date was placed somewhere between 2019 and 2021, but afterwards the launch date was delayed to 2023.[25][26] As of January 2024, the mission is expected to launch no earlier than September 2025.[1]

In April 2024, Lockheed was on track to hand over the Orion module by September.[27][28][29] The Orion module completed electromagnetic testing successfully in April and will undergo further work in preparation for additional testing in the summer.[30]


Prime crew
Position Astronaut
Commander United States Reid Wiseman, NASA
Second spaceflight
Pilot United States Victor Glover, NASA
Second spaceflight
Payload Specialist United States Christina Koch, NASA
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist Canada Jeremy Hansen, CSA
First spaceflight
Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, wearing her blue Canadian Space Agency uniform bearing the flag of Canada, smiles at the camera, her hands folded.
Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, pictured in 2017, is Jeremy Hansen's substitute.

Artemis 2 is to be crewed by four astronauts: Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor J. Glover, Payload Specialist Christina Koch, and Mission Specialist Jeremy Hansen.[31] Jenni Sidey-Gibbons is Hansen's backup; she will join the mission if Hansen is unable to.[32][33]

Glover, Koch, and Hansen are to be the first person of color, woman, and non-American to go beyond low Earth orbit respectively.[31] Hansen and Sidey-Gibbons are Canadian and have been assigned by the Canadian Space Agency;[31] a 2020 treaty between the United States and Canada led to their involvement.[34]


The Artemis 2 mission plan is to send four astronauts in the first crewed Orion MPCV spacecraft into a lunar flyby for a maximum of 21 days using the Block 1 variant of the Space Launch System. The mission profile is a multi-trans-lunar injection (MTLI), or multiple departure burns, and includes a free-return trajectory from the Moon. The Orion spacecraft will be sent to a high Earth orbit with a period of roughly 24 hours. During this time the crew will perform various checkouts of the spacecraft's life support systems as well as an in-space rendezvous and proximity operations demonstration using the spent Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) as a target. When Orion reaches perigee once again, it will fire its main engine to complete the TLI maneuver, which will send it to a lunar free-return trajectory, before returning to Earth.[3][35]

Optical communications

Artemis 2 will test and demonstrate optical communications to and from Earth using the Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System (O2O).[36] The O2O hardware will be integrated into the Orion spacecraft and includes an optical module (a 4-inch [100 mm] telescope and two gimbals), modem and control electronics.[36] O2O will communicate with ground stations in California and New Mexico.[36] The test device will send data to Earth with a downlink rate of up to 260 megabits per second.[37]

Similar missions


In December 1968, the Apollo 8 mission, crewed by astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders, flew their command and service module beyond low Earth orbit and completed ten orbits of the Moon. Similar to the planned Artemis 2 mission in that it was crewed and did not land, it differed by being placed into orbit.[38] Apollo 13 (1970) was the only Apollo mission that flew past the Moon by a free-return trajectory.


In 2005, the company Space Adventures announced plans for a lunar tourism mission to take two tourists within 100 km (62 mi) of the lunar surface using a Soyuz spacecraft piloted by a professional cosmonaut. The mission, named DSE-Alpha, has been priced at US$150 million per seat and was expected to last 8–9 days when scheduled. Company CEO Eric Anderson stated in 2011 that one seat had been sold, but the launch date has continually slipped as the second seat remained unsold as of 2017.[39]

A SpaceX lunar tourism mission was initially proposed for late 2018 and would have been similar to Artemis 2 in crew size, with two space tourists paying for a free-return loop around the Moon and back to Earth, using the Crew Dragon capsule and launched on the Falcon Heavy.[40][41] After the first flight of Falcon Heavy in 2018, SpaceX announced that Falcon Heavy would not be used for crewed flights to focus their future development on Starship and indicated that the lunar mission would more likely be carried out with the Starship.[42][43] On 14 September 2018, SpaceX officially announced that it had signed one of the paying passengers, Yusaku Maezawa, for the dearMoon project mission using Starship and that he would invite six to eight artists to join him.[44][45]


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