SkyFi Launches Earth Observation Mobile and Web Application

SkyFi, a cutting-edge technology company, is proud to announce the launch of its revolutionary Earth Observation mobile and web application. The new application, available for download on both iOS and Android devices as well as for use on web browsers, allows users to access high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery from anywhere in the world.

The SkyFi application provides users access to a wide range of satellite imagery, including optical, multispectral, and video. In the coming months, the application will also include radar, hyperspectral, and nighttime sensors, as well as advanced tools for analysis, such as object detection and change detection capabilities, making it an invaluable tool for a variety of industries such as agriculture, forestry, insurance, and urban planning.

“We are thrilled to finally bring our innovative Earth Observation application to the world. We have seen a growing demand for our unique solution and are excited to share it with new and existing satellite imagery users,” said Luke Fischer, CEO of SkyFi. “This launch marks a significant milestone for our startup and we look forward to continuing to develop game-changing capabilities for our customers.”

SkyFi’s application is designed to be user-friendly, with an intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate and access the information you need. The application also includes a community feature that allows users to share their observations and insights with others directly from the platform.

With the support of over 25 partner companies, SkyFi provides users with a seamless connection to a satellite constellation of over 80 satellites currently in space. As additional companies launch their technology into orbit, this number will continue to grow. 

“We believe that this application will significantly impact how we understand and manage our planet,” said Kammy Brun, VP of Business Development. “By making satellite imagery and data more accessible, we can empower people to make informed decisions and take action to protect our planet.”

Virgin Orbit Completes Final Successful End-to-end Rehearsal – All Systems Currently ‘Green’ Proceeding Toward Historic U.K. Launch

Partners for the United Kingdom’s first orbital launch announced today that the initial window for the historic Start Me Up mission will officially open on Monday, 9 January at 22:16 UTC with additional back-up dates continuing into mid and late January. Start Me Up is a collaborative effort between the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA), Cornwall Council, the Royal Air Force, and Virgin Orbit.

The Start Me Up mission will carry satellites from seven customers to space, including commercial and government payloads from several nations and a collaborative US-UK mission.

The LauncherOne system that will conduct the mission is now mated to its carrier aircraft, a Boeing 747 dubbed Cosmic Girl, at Spaceport Cornwall. Yesterday morning, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system successfully completed an end-to-end launch rehearsal, taking the integrated system through to the loading of propellants and proceeding through terminal count, resulting in the verification of the health of the system and readiness of the team.

Given the number of “firsts” being executed for this launch – the first orbital launch from UK soil or from anywhere in western Europe – Virgin Orbit and its partners will maintain a conservative posture with regard to system health, weather, and all other elements of scheduling.

Spaceport Cornwall received the United Kingdom’s first-ever spaceport license from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in November. In late December, Virgin Orbit was issued first-of-their-kind launch and range control licenses, which ensured all regulatory, safety, and environmental requirements have been met. And this week, the CAA announced that all of the satellites flying on this mission have received their licenses as well.

The forthcoming mission from Cornwall, titled Start Me Up in honor of the Rolling Stones’ 1981 hit, will contain many firsts: the first orbital launch from the United Kingdom, the first international launch for Virgin Orbit, and the first commercial launch from western Europe.

“We are entering a new era for space in the UK with the first ever satellite launch from UK soil and from Europe,” Ian Annett, Deputy CEO at the UK Space Agency, said. “This is a significant landmark for the nation, the UK Space Agency and for all those who have worked so hard over many years to make our ambitions to create a commercial space launch capability a reality.

“The development of new orbital launch capabilities is already generating growth, catalysing investment and creating jobs in Cornwall and other communities across the United Kingdom. This will lead to new careers, improved productivity and inspire the next generation of space professionals, and this is just the beginning. I look forward to seeing more launches from other UK spaceports over the next year, putting us firmly on the map as Europe’s leading destination for commercial small satellite launch.”

Dan Hart, Virgin Orbit CEO, said: “After ensuring that every technical aspect is sound and every regulation and code has been satisfied, it is gratifying to see this historic endeavor on the verge of coming to fruition. This launch represents the opening of a new era in the British space industry and new partnerships across industry, government, and allies. Space is already responsible for tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, the global industry is growing quickly, and so is the potential. And this launch is demonstrating that with the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne system an airport can become a spaceport that sends humankind’s innovations on their journey.”

Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall, said: “This is a phenomenal moment with incredible international collaboration. Virgin Orbit, the UK Space Agency and all of our partners are breaking new ground to transform access to space across the world from right here in Cornwall. My team at Spaceport Cornwall have worked so hard to get this far and we wish everyone the best of luck as the launch window opens, we are ready.”

Tim Johnson, Director for Space Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “Effective licensing forms an integral part of UK space activity, and with public safety at the heart of our decision making, we’ve worked with Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall to assess their applications and issue licences within our expected timeframe, putting the UK framework on a competitive footing with international space regulators. With all licenses in place, Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall are now in a position to deliver a historic first orbital launch from UK shores. We’re proud to be playing our part in facilitating the UK’s space ambitions and enable this country to become a leading launch nation.”

Start Me Up will be the fifth consecutive Virgin Orbit launch to carry payloads for both private companies and government agencies. All of the prior 33 satellites were carried by LauncherOne to their precise desired orbit, while demonstrating the ability to fly through and above inclement weather, integrate rapid-call up payloads, and reach a broader range of orbits than would be possible from a traditional ground-launch system.

The launch was acquired by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Virgin Orbit National Systems, a Virgin Orbit U.S. subsidiary serving classified customers, as the first task order on NRO’s Streamlined Launch Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity Contract, or “SLIC.”

The missions of the satellites span a wide range of activities aimed at improving life on Earth, including reducing the environmental impact of production; preventing illegal trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism; and a host of national security functions. The full Start Me Up manifest is available here.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from the wing of a converted Boeing 747-400 aircraft named “Cosmic Girl.” Virgin Orbit’s unique air-launch platform can take off from any runway long enough to handle a Boeing 747. Not reliant on traditional spaceports that support vertical launches, this capability creates a new level of mobility for satellite launch, thereby enabling sovereign launch capability in new markets.

IAI Successfully Launches EROS-C3 Satellite

Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) EROS-C3 satellite was launched 30 December, 2022, using a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch-vehicle, from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA.

IAI says the EROS-C3 is one of the most advanced observation satellites in the world, with technologies using multi-spectral camera which enable very high-resolution images the company says. After launch, the satellite entered its planned orbit around the Earth and began transmitting data to the ground station. Engineers at IAI have begun a series of preplanned calibrations and tests to validate the satellite’s performance, and complete the preplan test prior to full operation soon.

“Today’s launch of the EROS-C3 satellite is a further expression of the advanced technological capabilities of Israel Aerospace Industries, the space house of the State of Israel,” said Boaz Levy, IAI president and CEO. “After much work on the satellite, during which time the best brains of the men and women of IAI worked on its development and production, the satellite has begun transmitting data to the ground station. Israel Aerospace Industries cooperates with government bodies, academic institutions, NGOs, and investors from both Israel and abroad, to advance technological achievements, scientific research, and the development of future space technologies.”

Skypersonic Delivers Drones, Rover, and Piloting Platform to NASA’s Simulated Mars Missions 

Skypersonic – a subsidiary of Red Cat Holdings, Inc. – announced that it recently delivered to NASA the hardware and software for a rover and drone system that the crew members of NASA’s Simulated Mars Missions will use to remotely explore Martian-like terrain around Earth – all from their 1,700-square-foot simulated Martian habitat at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. 

In the Simulated Mars Missions CHAPEA, crew members will spend one year living and working in a habitat at Johnson Space Center that has been designed and built to simulate life on the Red Planet. The Skypersonic drones and rover will be taken to an area on Earth that is similar to Martian terrain – such as a desert or mountainous region – where they will be controlled remotely by crew members in Houston. The exercise is designed to test the ability of astronauts on Mars to remotely explore the planet with drones and rovers. 

The hardware and software delivered to Houston were proven in August 2022, when NASA personnel stationed at the Johnson Space Center controlled the Skypersonic drones and rover on the Martian-like environment of Mt. Etna, an active volcano thousands of miles away in Italy. Not only was the surface of the volcano like that of Mars, but there is no GPS signal on Mt. Etna, which gave NASA personnel insight into how the technology would perform on a Martian surface. Because its proprietary remote piloting technology doesn’t rely on GPS, Skypersonic allows pilots, and the drones or rovers they control, to be located virtually anywhere in the world – or out of this world. 

“This recent delivery is the latest milestone in our five-year contract with NASA to provide drone and rover hardware, software, and support to the Simulated Mars Missions. We look forward to working closely with the Simulated Mars Missions crews in the coming years to develop and test the prototype of the first drones and rovers to be used by humans on Mars. The challenges are great – extremely thin atmosphere, dramatically cold temperatures, a largely unknown environment – but I am confident we will prevail and advance the science of our industry in the process,” said Skypersonic CEO Giuseppe Santangelo. 

NASA personnel trained on piloting the recently delivered drones with Skypersonic’s Martian Simulator, a computer-simulation of the Martian environment based on actual photographs and video of the surface of Mars.  

FAA Marks 500th Licensed Commercial Space Launch

On Nov. 26, the FAA’s 500th licensed commercial space launch reached for the heavens. These launches carry people, cargo and dreams to the International Space Station, earth orbit and beyond. The FAA makes sure these launches are safe for the public and seamlessly traverse the airspace. Commercial space launches will continue growing.

NASA Set to Put Orion Capsule in Lunar Orbit

NASA’s new lunar mission took a big step forward early on November 21 when the uncrewed Orion capsule fired its main engine to sling itself from just 81 miles above the Moon to tens of thousands of miles from it.

The 2.5-minute “outbound powered flyby” burn of the 6,000-pound-thrust (26.7-kilonewton) Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ10 engine at 7:44 a.m. Eastern U.S. time set up Orion for a second firing on November 25. That burn, scheduled that day for 4:52 p.m., is designed to boost the capsule into a 40,000-mi (64,374-kilometer) orbit of the Moon in the direction opposite that in which that satellite travels around Earth.

Mission managers plan for Orion to spend six days on that “distant retrograde orbit,” whose highly stable nature will support strenuous testing of the capsule before it is cleared to carry astronauts on the third launch of NASA’s Artemis program. Artemis 1 blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center November 16 on the Space Launch System rocket.

“Artemis I is a true stress test of the Orion spacecraft in the deep space environment,” NASA Artemis mission manager, Mike Sarafin, said. With no crew on this first mission, the direct retrograde orbit allows the capsule “to spend more time in deep space for a rigorous mission to ensure spacecraft systems — like guidance, navigation, communication, power, thermal control, and others — are ready to keep astronauts safe on future crewed missions.”

NASA plans to return Orion to Earth with a Pacific Ocean splashdown on December 11.

About the image:

The image above shows a camera on one of Orion’s solar array wings captured the spacecraft approaching the Moon, with the Earth in the distant, on November 21. Credit: NASA TV

IEEE-USA Lauds NASA’s First Artemis Launch

IEEE-USA lauds the first mission launch of NASA’s Artemis program, which lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week. The launch went forward after overcoming technical challenges and weather issues which caused earlier postponements. The uncrewed Artemis I is the first in a series of missions to build a long-term human presence on the Moon and explore the lunar south pole for the first time.

“Artemis is in many ways the spiritual successor of the Apollo program: ambitious and challenging while pushing new boundaries of space exploration,” said Deborah M. Cooper, 2022 IEEE-USA president. “In the years to come, we will look at this launch as humanity’s next great historic moment and the beginning of an incredible journey.”

This mission marks the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) super heavy-lift launch vehicle and Orion reusable spacecraft. The SLS and Orion were designed and manufactured by a coalition of American and international commercial aerospace partners.

Artemis I will now proceed on a 25-day round trip to the Moon, covering a total distance of 1.3 million miles before returning to Earth on December 11. The mission aims to test SLS and Orion’s capabilities in space and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first crewed flight. Artemis I will also deploy 10 small CubeSat satellites that will collect scientific data and relay communications.

“This historic flight launched atop the most powerful rocket ever built and will fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever gone before,” said Cooper. “Artemis will lay the foundation for the future of human deep space exploration, and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of countless engineers and scientists, including thousands of IEEE members.”

Future Artemis missions will return humans to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years and will send the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface.

TTTech Aerospace On Board for NASA’s Artemis I Mission

The successful launch of NASA’s Artemis I marks the next step in NASA’s return to the Moon under Artemis and preparing the way for human missions to Mars. Artemis I is an uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft around the Moon, launched atop NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket built to date. TTTech Aerospace is proud to be on board Orion with its TTEthernet solution used in the spacecraft’s avionics system.

TTTech Aerospace has been working on Orion with Honeywell (avionics system provider), Lockheed Martin (NASA’s prime contractor for Orion) and NASA, since 2006. The first successful Orion test flight, Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1), flew in 2014. Orion has since undergone a series of tests and adaptations in preparation for the launch of Artemis I. TTTech Aerospace’s products are also used in the European Service Module (ESM) supplying propulsion to the Orion capsule, as well as storing fuel, water, oxygen, and nitrogen. In this project, TTTech Aerospace worked together with Airbus Defense & Space and the European Space Agency (ESA).

“We are very excited about the launch of Artemis I and are proud to be on board. For years, we have been working closely with our partners, providing TTEthernet products used in Orion’s avionics system. The avionics backbone acts as the ‘central nervous system’ of Orion, connecting all sensors, computers and actuators with different safety-critical and non safety-critical functions. Using a single network allows to save space, weight and power and therefore demonstrates the future of highly integrated avionics systems,” explains Christian Fidi, senior vice president Business Unit Aerospace, TTTech.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built by Lockheed Martin Space and designed to sustain harsh deep space environments, protecting the crew from radiation and heat and providing them with highly reliable functions like command and control and life support. All these functions have to interact seamlessly to ensure human safety throughout the mission.

TTEthernet allows to build systems integrating safety-critical and non-critical functions on the same physical media and therefore saving cabling and power to decrease the weight of the overall spacecraft. TTEthernet is based on the IEEE 802, the ARINC 664, the SAE AS6802 and the recently established ECSS-E-ST-50-16C open standards, allowing seamless integration with legacy Ethernet equipment into the same network and re-use of the wide range of Ethernet testing hardware and tools. This helps customers during the complete spacecraft lifecycle and saves cost.

Honeywell supplies Lockheed Martin and its partners with the guidance, navigation and control platform for Orion. TTTech Aerospace has been partnering with Honeywell for many years, providing the core TTEthernet® building blocks on which they have built their high-performance avionics platform for Orion.

TTEthernet® technology was developed by TTTech Aerospace and standardized as an open SAE standard (i.e. SAE AS6802) in collaboration with NASA and leading industry partners. NASA, ESA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have baselined TTEthernet® in the International Avionics System Interoperability Standards (IASIS) for communication networks for deep space missions in 2019 and TTEthernet was therefore referenced for Artemis. It is already being used in several space exploration programs, such as Orion, ESM, ESA’s Ariane 6 and NASA’s lunar Gateway as well as other launcher and lunar applications. TTEthernet offers data transfer rates up to 1,000 times faster than those used on previous human spacecraft (rates of up to 10/100/1000 Mbit/s).TTEthernet is ideal for mixed-criticality networks, allowing seamless integration and reliable data transfer for critical real-time functions like flight controls and life-support systems as well as lower priority data on one single physical network. This achieves savings in space, weight and power (SWaP), as well as cost for integration and testing.

After completion of this first uncrewed test flight, a crewed flight test (Artemis II) will take place, again using NASA’s SLS, Orion and the ESM.

https://www.tttech.com

Press contact

Judith Lebic, Senior Communication Expert
Email: pr@tttech.com | Telephone: +43 1 585 34 34 0

Honeywell Supports NASA’s Artemis I Launch and Orion Spacecraft

Honeywell technology is helping enable NASA’s Artemis I launch, as well as several other aspects of planned NASA missions that will bring astronauts to the moon and Mars. Over the course of NASA’s Artemis program, Honeywell technology will play an increasingly critical role in the Orion spacecraft and the Artemis missions. 

Honeywell provides the full navigation and guidance system for the Artemis I launch vehicle. This allows the spacecraft to know exactly where it’s going, stay on course and return safely to Earth. Honeywell technology is also helping control the thrust on rockets that travel 73 times faster than the cars in the Indy 500.

“We’re incredibly proud that our technology is supporting the Artemis missions to bring Americans back to the moon, and eventually Mars,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell has been a part of every crewed space mission in NASA’s history, which is a big source of pride for all of us here. Although we’re proud of our legacy with previous NASA missions, I couldn’t be more excited that our employees are shaping the future of human space exploration through the Artemis missions.”

Honeywell will provide 14 product types for crewed Artemis missions III through V, including both hardware and software solutions, to support NASA’s lunar missions. Some of those key technologies are:

  • Guidance and Navigation Systems: Key navigation and guidance solutions, including the barometric altimeter, which tracks the altitude of the Orion capsule in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the inertial measurement system and GPS receiver, which track the position and movements of the capsule.
  • Command Data Handling: Several data-handling products, including the vehicle management computer, which acts as the central computing platform supporting flight and vehicle control, as well as spacecraft communication functions.
  • Displays and Controls: Three display units and struts, seven control panels and two hand controllers used inside the spacecraft to help astronauts in the Orion capsule monitor and control the vehicle.
  • Core Flight Software: Includes the integrated modular avionics software, a key system responsible for supporting maintenance functions sharing flight data information.

Huge Rocket Launches NASA Back to Moon

By James T. McKenna

NASA’s latest Moon rocket blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 1:47 a.m. today on a planned 25-and-a-half-day mission to prove the space agency remembers, after a half century, how to fly astronauts to the Earth’s natural satellite and bring them home safely.

The Space Launch System (SLS) journey on the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission came just shy of 50 years after a mammoth Saturn V sent three astronauts to the Moon on December 1972’s Apollo 17. That was the last U.S. lunar mission. Artemis 1 is to reach the Moon on November 21 and spend a week in a distant retrograde orbit around it that will carry the crew capsule 40,000 miles (64,374 kilometers) beyond it.

The mission’s main objectives are fundamental. One is to show that the heat shield on the rocket’s crew capsule can survive re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere after a lunar flight. Another is to demonstrate the performance of NASA’s operations and facilities throughout all phases of a Moon mission. A third is to ensure that the space agency can recover the crew capsule after splashdown. NASA wants to prove it can return a lunar crew safely to Earth.

The Artemis program is a series of increasingly complex missions aimed at establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon and enabling missions beyond it to Mars. They would be highlighted by Artemis 3’s lunar landing of astronauts (including the first woman and first person of color), which is targeted for 2025. In Greek mythology, Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and the goddess of (among other things) the Moon. Boeing is NASA’s main contractor for the SLS, which is intended to power the initial Artemis missions.

“Today we got to witness the world’s most powerful rocket take the Earth by its edges and shake the wicked out of it, and it was quite a sight,” NASA Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin said a few hours after the launch, drawing on the Bible’s Book of Job.

Artemis 1’s launch came on the third try. Previous opportunities in August, September and this month were delayed by propellant leaks and hurricanes. During the latest effort, the launch team overcame several issues, including a liquid hydrogen fuel line leak and a communications failure in the system the U.S. Space Force would use to destroy the rocket if a problem occurred in flight.

Once the 8.8-million-pound-thrust (3,9144-kilonewton) rocket lifted off into high clouds of the night sky, the flight went smoothly. After about 2 minutes 12 seconds, the SLS’s two 177-foot-tall (53.9-meter) Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters burned out and separated from the 322-foot-tall (98.3-meter) main rocket to fall back to the Atlantic. (By comparison, the 363-foot-tall, or 111-meter tall, Saturn V generated 7.6 million pounds, or 33806.5 kilonewtons, of thrust at liftoff.) The launch abort tower jettisoned 3.5 minutes after liftoff.

About 87 minutes after liftoff, the SLS’s interim cryogenic propulsion (or upper) stage ignited its lone, 24,750-pound-thrust (110-kilonewton) Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine for 18 minutes. With that long, “trans-lunar injection” burn, the United Launch Alliance upper stage accelerated the crew capsule to 22,500 mph and pushed it beyond 247,000 miles from Earth. Ten minutes later, the upper stage separated from the Lockheed Martin-built Orion capsule, setting it on a 268,553-mile (432,194-kilometer) cruise to the Moon. Orion’s service module, which provides the capsule’s propulsion, life support and other critical systems, is provided by the European Space Agency and lead contractor Airbus.

“The spacecraft is Moon-bound,” launch commentator Leah Cheshier said from Houston’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). The Artemis 1 flight team took control of the rocket as soon as it cleared the launch tower in Florida.

Orion, which is designed for a crew of four, carries only one seat on this flight: the commander’s seat, in which rests a male-bodied mannequin in a spacesuit with two sensors to record space radiation’s effects on a human body. Other sensors in the seat will capture acceleration and vibration data.

At the location of the rear seats are two mannequin torsos, one female and one male, which simulate human tissue and organs. Dubbed “phantoms” and named Helga and Zohar, these will record radiation levels during the mission and evaluate a radiation-protection vest. Acceleration forces on the unvested mannequin also will be measured, particularly during splashdown in the Pacific off San Diego, California. NASA also is measuring the environment in the crew cabin throughout the flight.

In the hours after the upper stage separated, 10 small satellites deployed from it on missions to pursue a host of science and space research objectives. These were CubeSats, products of a NASA program to foster low-cost, innovative work in space. CubeSats weigh no more than 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) and must be able to fold into a volume about the size of a large shoebox. They also must not require power from their host spacecraft.

Most of the Artemis CubeSats aim to support that program’s goal of a permanent human presence on the Moon, characterizing the lunar surface, soil and radiation environment and searching for water and hydrogen there. One will carry a 2.2-pound (1-kilogram) “nano-lander” to assess lunar soil mechanics. Others will test innovative propulsion and trajectory techniques using low-energy maneuvers, iodine thrusters and water jets. One will scout out near-Earth asteroids. Another will study cool plasma in the Earth’s magnetosphere. Yet another will study the Sun’s radiation, solar winds and other solar events. Lastly, one will use yeast to assess whether space radiation might break down an astronaut’s DNA.

The SLS is not a new launch vehicle. Congress required NASA to reuse as much hardware as possible. So, the four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines that powered the SLS’ core stage are refurbished and upgraded space shuttle main engines that each generate 416,300 pounds (1,852 kilonewtons). They are rated to operate at 109 percent during the rocket’s ascent. The four engines collectively flew on 25 space shuttle missions before today’s launch. One flew on 12 shuttle launches.

The vehicle’s solid rocket boosters are also refurbished and upgraded from shuttle operations, with new nozzles and avionics. With a fifth segment added to each, they are the most powerful solid boosters ever flown, according to NASA.

The Orion service module’s single engine is a refurbished shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System engine provided by NASA.

The interim cryogenic propulsion stage is based on the cryogenic second stage of the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV rocket.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, asked why it’s a priority to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, said: “It’s reflective of us. It’s reflective of America. Our national motto is the Latin ‘E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.’ So, our astronaut corps reflects that.”

As does much of NASA’s workforce, said Emily Nelson, NASA’s chief flight director at JSC and a successor to space agency legends like Christopher Kraft, Glynn Lunney and Gene Krantz.

“If you see the photos and imagery from the last time we were went to the Moon, the diversity of the people who had the opportunity to contribute was maybe not quite where it is today. I think that’s a point of pride, but it’s in no way surprising because I think we’ve all grown in that direction.” She added: “It’s really exciting for my generation and for the Artemis generation to get the opportunity to go to the Moon and beyond.”

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