Saturday, October 23, 2021

Black Astronaut Victor Glover Wants His Space (Station) – Not the Attention

Victor Glover (NASA)
Victor Glover (NASA)

*When Victor Glover and an international crew of three other fellow astronauts lifted off in a Space X Falcon 9 rocket (Resilience) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, Nov. 15, Glover made history.

While he is not the first Black astronaut to fly in space, he is the first to be delegated to a long-mission assignment, which will be carried out for six months at the International Space Station, 200 miles above earth.  The spacecraft docked safely at the International Space Station on Monday night, Nov. 16.

Glover is the first African American to be a part of NASA’s inaugural commercial human flight in history, named Space X Crew-1.  Glover is not only a member of the Crew Dragon Spacecraft, but he is also the pilot and second-in-command for the mission. During the six months, the crew’s mission will include conducting science experiments and maintenance tasks, before returning to earth in the spring of 2021.

Glover, for the most part, has been relatively quiet prior to the history-making space voyage in mid-November, basically saying the mission is not about him.  Yet, in so many ways and for so many people, “it is” about him, reports Arstechnia.

“My heart is low, my head is level, and my faith is high.  So much to process,” Glover wrote on Twitter last June.  “If you’re struggling, that’s OK.  I see you; I am you.”

Glover, however, is living his dream.  After going through a rigorous training regiment for seven years, in 2013 he was selected to become an astronaut.

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Victor Glover and other astonauts
All for one, Crew-1 for all: Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, and Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, all NASA astronauts, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut. (NASA photo)

While Glover will be based at the International Space Station until spring, he knows he temporarily leaves planet earth, where the United States is located and is deeply divided racially, with a social climate of unrest not seen in decades – maybe ever.  In many ways, Glover knows that there are far more important matters to speak about other than flying through space.  He recognizes that the senseless killing of George Floyd in May and so many other Black people before and since, is something that needs to be talked about.

“I wish that there wasn’t anything to talk about,” Glover said in a recent interview.  “But that’s not the world we live in.”

Born in Pomona, California in 1976, Glover, after graduating from Ontario High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in General Engineering and has received three master’s degrees.  He received advanced flight training in the Navy, before attending the Air Force Test Pilot School.

And now, Glover, who is married and the father of four children, has his eyes to the sky as he makes history, looking down at earth from the space station high above the globe.  He is the first Black astronaut to enter space in almost ten years, since Alvin Drew flew through space.  Drew is pulling for Glover, saying “It’s important for Black boys and girls to see people like them flying into space, living there, and contributing to exploration of the cosmos.  You want them to see there is still that opportunity.”

 

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