A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral shortly after midnight Friday with Intelsat 40e, a communications satellite destined to beam broadband internet signals to airplane and cruise ship passengers across North America while hosting a NASA instrument package to monitor air pollution.
Reid Wiseman, a veteran U.S. Navy test pilot and former chief of NASA’s astronaut corps, will lead the four-person crew assigned to the Artemis 2 mission to carry people to the vicinity of the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Wiseman says he views the crew’s job as making sure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready for more demanding missions later this decade to support moon landings and assembly of a space station called the Gateway in lunar orbit.
NASA announced Monday that former U.S. Navy fighter pilots Reid Wiseman and Victor Glover, veteran space station astronaut Christina Koch, and rookie Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will crew the Artemis 2 mission to fly around the far side of the moon as soon as late next year, a test flight that could carry the foursome farther from Earth than any humans in history.
The first 10 spacecraft for a planned U.S. military mega-constellation launched from California Sunday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, setting in place the keystone for a multibillion-dollar network of hundreds of small satellites to improve defenses against hypersonic missiles and other emerging threats.