The motto of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is “For the Benefit of All.” This motto has extended to the implementation of diversity and inclusion. From its inception, African Americans played prominent roles in the space program. Many of these figures’ contributions were hidden from the public eye. Some of the most prominent figures included Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson whose stories were recently dramatized in the film Hidden Figures. Astronauts such as Ronald McNair, an MIT astrophysicist killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986 and Mae Jemison, a medical doctor and the first African American woman in space, are just a few of the recent participants. The latest and most visible participant in the space program is Victor J. Glover. Glover is currently serving as pilot and second in command on the Crew-1 Space X Crew Dragon. The ship is named Resilience and launched on November 1, 2020. Glover is a Flight Engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 64. He is the first Black astronaut to begin a full six-month stint on the International Space Station, an orbiting space lab. He is the 15thAfrican American in space.
Glover was born in Pomana, California in 1976. He received his undergraduate training at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He also has three master’s degrees in various engineering specialties. Glover is a member of the U.S. Navy, completing advanced flight training in 2001. He saw active duty with the Strike Fighter Squadron 34, which deployed with the USS John F. Kennedyduring the Iraqi War. Glover, whose nickname is “Ike,” accumulated 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft over 400 carriers arrested findings and 24 combat missions for the U.S. Navy. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013 while serving as a Legislative fellow for John McCain in the United States Senate.
Described as self-effacing and shy, Glover recently discussed his achievement “It is something to be celebrated once we accomplish it, and you know, I am honored to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew. He said further that “I look forward to getting up there and doing my best to make sure that, you know, we are worthy of all the work that’s been put into setting us up for this mission.” Glover has also reflected on the turbulent realities we are currently facing on earth as he prepares to go into space. When asked this past summer if astronauts strictly focus on space, Glover answered “No!” He went on to say: “Remember who is doing space. People are. As we address extreme weather and pandemic disease, we will understand and overcome racism and bigotry so we can safely and together do space. Thanks for asking.”
Glover’s team for this first operational flight includes NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Soichi Noguchi. This flight is pathbreaking in many different ways. It is the first NASA-certified commercial system designed for crew transportation. It is also the first international crew to launch using an American commercial spacecraft. The space station’s long-duration expedition crew size will increase from six to seven members. This will allow more time for research. Lastly, this flight represents the first time the Federal Aviation Administration has licensed a human orbital spaceflight
Glover has been active in sharing the events and details of his historic space mission. He has taken part in live calls from space with the Smithsonian and an art contest with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Additionally, since arriving at the International Spacelab, Glover has taken part in a spacewalk to upgrade and maintain the station. The walk lasted for six hours and 56 minutes and occurred on January 27th.
This post was previously published on Historian Speaks.
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