NASA has announced a team of four astronauts poised to embark on a groundbreaking journey around the moon as part of the Artemis II mission. The crew, consisting of American astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Reid Wiseman, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, will board the Orion spacecraft, which will be launched by the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the most powerful ever built, for a flyby of Earth’s only natural satellite.
This mission is just one of the many international endeavors focused on lunar exploration. Other countries have also successfully sent humans around the moon, showcasing their own space capabilities and fostering global collaboration.
In 2022, Russia’s Roscosmos launched the Luna-25 mission, which included Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Fyodor Yurchikhin. The mission demonstrated the Soyuz-5 rocket’s ability to carry humans on a lunar flyby, paving the way for future collaborations with other space agencies.
China, too, has made strides in lunar exploration. In 2021, their Chang’e 5 mission successfully collected and returned lunar samples. Building on this success, the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) launched a manned lunar flyby mission in 2023, featuring astronauts Chen Dong and Liu Boming.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has also been actively involved in lunar missions. As part of their Lunar Pathfinder program, ESA is working closely with international partners, including NASA, Roscosmos, and CNSA, to develop infrastructure and technology for lunar exploration. While the ESA has not yet sent humans on a lunar flyby mission, they have plans to do so in the near future.
These international missions, along with NASA’s Artemis II, highlight the ongoing global efforts to explore the moon, advance scientific knowledge, and foster international cooperation in space exploration. With multiple countries contributing their expertise and resources, the future of lunar exploration looks promising.