Astronauts up close with Artemis could be next moon walkers

Astronauts and astronaut candidates pose for a photo at the Launch Pad 39-B after arriving in their T-38 jets in support of Artemis I launch operations at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photographed: NASA Astronauts Reid Wiseman, Christina Koch, Drew Morgan , Zena Cardman, Joe Acaba, NASA Astronaut Candidates Nicole Ayers, Jack Hathaway, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Jeremy Hansen, and NASA Pilot Chris Condon, with the Space Launch System on Launch Pad 39B. (Josh Valcarcel – NASA – Johnson Space Center)

A gaggle of blue-suited space veterans along with some who have yet to make it to orbit were on hand at Kennedy Space Center this weekend to get a look at the massive Artemis I rocket on the launch pad.

Astronauts and astronaut candidates from both NASA and the Canadian Space Agency headed out to Launch Pad 39-B on Sunday to take photos ahead of the planned liftoff of the 1st lunar mission of the Artemis program. It paves the way for future crewed flights with Artemis II expecting to fly four on an orbital mission to the moon in 2024. That flight is expected to include three NASA astronauts and one Canadian with crew assignments potentially to be named before the end of the year, according to astronaut Stan Love.

Love was on hand along with NASA astronauts Joe Acabá (a former Central Florida science teacher), Victor Glover, Don Pettit, Jessica Meir, Shannon Walker, Kate Rubins, Reid Wiseman, Stephanie Wilson, Zena Cardman and Randy Bresnik.

Also at KSC were NASA