Canada inks deal with US for near-moon mission

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"Canada will join the USA on the first crewed mission to the moon since the Apollo missions", Bains said during a news conference with Canadian Space Agency astronauts Jeremy Hansen, David Saint-Jacques, Joshua Kutryk and Jenni Sidey-Gibbons.

The signing of the Gateway Treaty, which was announced by Canadian Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains during a video conference, also confirms that the US' northern neighbor will play a vital role in the eventual establishment of the Lunar Gateway space station that will orbit the moon.

A Canadian will be going to the moon for the very first time following a historic agreement as part of the Artemis II mission that is planned to launch in 2023.

That was when the NASA Apollo missions were in full gear in the 60s and early 70s.

The mission is expected to be part of an overall plan for Canada to be part of a new global space station, called the Lunar Gateway, which will orbit the moon.

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After that, another space flight will take a Canadian to the Lunar Gateway, a small space station that will allow astronauts to actually land on the moon's surface.

So, today was a fitting day for the Canadian Space Agency to make a major announcement about our nation's contribution to the Artemis program - the next attempt to send humans to the Moon. It will be the first crewed mission to the moon since 1972.

"This will make Canada only the second country after the United States to have an astronaut in deep space", he said.

"It's been clearly demonstrated that the motivation of youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math and STEM professions has been inspired by astronauts in the space program, is high". "As a Canadian it fills me with pride to think that the next time we see our home planet rising up over the edge of the moon, one of you four will be behind the camera".

Bains would not rule out a Canadian being on that trip as well, saying: "Conversations are ongoing, and I wouldn't necessarily close that door yet". Swinging around the Moon's far side, they will then fly the four days back to Earth, where the capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

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