The First Human to Walk on the Moon in 53 Years Could Be Canadian, Here's How

It'd be a bit of a misnomer to call the great crewed spaceflight renaissance a space race in the traditional sense. At least, not in the same way it was the first time around back in the 1960s. Unlike Apollo, the Artemis program is designed to last more than seven Lunar landing missions.
David Saint-Jacques 16 photos
Photo: Canadian Space Agency
Orion Space CraftCameras Installing on OrionSLS before its historic trip to the moon above itLiftoff for Artemis IOrion takes a Selfie with us in the backgroundArtemis missionsArtemis missionsArtemis missionsArtemis missionsArtemis missionsOrion camera arrayAn Orion Camera being inspectedAn Orion Camera being inspectedDavid Saint-JacquesJeremy Hansen
Not only that, but thanks to the Artemis Accords, an international agreement that helps up to 20 nations have a presence on the Moon, it won't just be the Russians or the Americans dividing the Moon down political lines the way some have feared they would for decades. The first beneficiary of the Artemis Accords, besides the U.S., is none other than our Canadian neighbors to the north.

One yet-to-be-announced Canadian national is set to hitch a ride with three Americans on the first dedicated circumnavigation of the Moon since Apollo 8 in December 1968. They'll do so as a part of the upcoming Artemis II mission due to launch sometime in the spring of 2024.

Though the specifics of Artemis II's crew have yet to be announced, the process that led to a Canadian finding a space on America's most expensive and ambitious crewed space mission dates back to the year 2020. In December of that year, Amanda Connolly of Global News Canada reported an interview with the then-Canadian Minister of Innovation, Navdeep Bains.

The Minister proudly announced a newly signed treaty guaranteeing, at the bare minimum, one seat on NASA's Orion crewed space capsule on a trip around the Moon. This alone would have been a historic announcement. One that ensured, among other things, the milestone of the first non-American human to transit beyond Low Earth Orbit.

David Saint\-Jacques
Photo: Canadian Space Agency
But more exciting still, the details of the contract detail how Artemis II might be just the beginning of the Canadian Space Agency's presence beyond Earth Orbit. It states that nations from a plethora of nations could be considered for crew slots on subsequent Artemis missions. But if Artemis II goes according to plans, it'd make logical sense why Canadian nationals may have a leg up over the rest of the entries.

"I won't close the door on that (Canadians flying on Artemis 3,4,5, etc) We're still fairly optimistic. We want to continue to build on the momentum that we have when it comes to the investments we made in our space program," Baines said in the same Global News Canada Interview. That announcement was nearly two years ago. But since then, the formal signing of the Artemis Accords has finally put the framework in place.

At the moment, there are four Canadian Astronauts on the official register, three men and one woman. The Canadian national with the most experience in space is Quebec native David Saint-Jacques. With 203 days racked up in Low Earth Orbit via the Expedition 58/59 crew rotations, the 52-year-old national would certainly be on the older side as far as astronauts are concerned by the time Artemis III is ready to land on the Moon South Pole.

But at 46 years old as of 2022, the former Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet pilot Jeremy Hansen certainly fits the bill for the perfect mission specialist candidate. In truth, astronauts from nations like the UK, France, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Romania, Ukraine, or several other nations could get the call to be the first non-American to step foot on the Moon.

Jeremy Hansen
Photo: Canadian Space Agency
But perhaps the Artemis Accord's most vocal critique is being too heavily focused on American interests. If NASA is dead set on proving this notion wrong, conceding a politically invigorating but otherwise not all that meaningful first step to an Artemis Accords member nation might just make those critics quiet in a hurry.  In this context, it's not hard to understand the benefits of sharing a border with the nation that ostensibly got this all started in the first place.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories