For the very first time, a Canadian astronaut will be joining a record-setting voyage heading to the moon.
Industry Minister Navdeep Bains made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, confirming the Canadian and American governments have signed a new treaty outlining Canadian participation in the Artemis missions and locking in a seat for a Canadian astronaut on the 2023 launch, as well as a second yet-to-be-scheduled flight to the future station.
"Launching in 2023, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut will be part of Artemis 2, the first mission to carry humans to lunar orbit in over 50 years,” Bains said during a news conference. This will make Canada only the second country after the U.S. to have an astronaut in deep space."
The space program has the ambitious goal of transporting humans back to the lunar surface including the first woman to land on the moon. Canada is expected to contribute a new robotic arm to help with the construction of the Lunar Gateway, which will orbit the moon and allow for exploration of the surface. The end goal is to help advance the technologies needed for a future mission to Mars.
“As Canada joins the US and other international partners in this great adventure, our continued leadership in space robotics will be a source of national pride – and all eyes will look to the sky as one of our astronauts becomes the first Canadian to travel around the moon,” said Bains about the mission.
It will be the first crewed mission to the moon since 1972.
Since the early 1980s, nine CSA astronauts have flown to space 17 times.
Canadarm3 is a highly autonomous robotic system that will use cutting-edge software to perform tasks without human intervention.
The agreement will make Canada the second country in history to have an astronaut travel into deep space and fly around the moon.
Current mission plans include:
Artemis I, an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft, set to launch on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in 2021;
Artemis II, the first-ever crewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft, scheduled to launch on the SLS rocket in 2023; and
Artemis III, the 2024 mission that will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon.
For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.