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Christian astronaut to pilot first crewed moon mission since 1972

Piloting the first moon mission in over 50 years will be Victor Glover, a Christian who has worshipped with Churches of Christ congregations.

Date: 03-29-2023 Location: Bldg 5, Orion Mockup Subject: Artemis II Crew Announcement products and still images of crew in Building 5s Orion Simulator. Photographer: James Blair

(Religion Unplugged) — For the first time in more than 50 years, four humans are set to visit the moon, NASA announced Monday.

Piloting the 2024 Artemis II mission will be Victor Glover, a Christian who has worshipped with Churches of Christ in the Houston area as well as his home state of California.

A former Navy commander, Glover flew combat missions in Iraq and served as a legislative fellow to the late U.S. Sen. John McCain before joining NASA in 2013.

The Christian Chronicle previously profiled the astronaut just before a six-month mission to the International Space Station in 2020 — with his Bible and communion cups — when he became the first Black astronaut assigned to a long-duration mission.

“I would love to go to the moon, but that’s not something I control,” he told the Chronicle at the time.

Artemis II will not only make that dream a reality but cement Glover as the first Black astronaut to visit the moon, though he won’t be setting foot on it — yet.

Accompanying him on the 10-day flight test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft next November will be Commander Reid Wiseman and mission specialists Christina Hammock Koch and Jeremy Hansen — the first woman and first Canadian, respectively, to fly a lunar mission.

The last crewed mission to the moon, Apollo 17, took place more than half a century ago, in December 1972.

NASA says the Artemis II mission will pave the way for future moon landings and a long-term presence there — and eventually, the first crewed missions to Mars.

“I want to thank God for this amazing opportunity,” Glover said at the Artemis announcement event in Houston.

But the celebration is about “so much more than the four names that have been announced,” he added. “We need to celebrate this moment in human history. …

“I pray that God will bless this mission. But I also pray that we can continue to serve as a source of inspiration, for cooperation and peace — not just between nations but in our own nation.”

By Victor Glover

This piece is republished with permission from The Christian Chronicle. Calvin Cockrell is a freelance digital media specialist, media editor for The Christian Chronicle and copyeditor for Religion Unplugged. He also serves as the young adults minister for the North Tuscaloosa Church of Christ in Alabama.