Victor Glover Will Become The First Black Astronaut To Live On The International Space Station
Four astronauts are now en route to the International Space Station – including NASA’s first Black crew member.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, named Resilience, launched from Florida early this morning, November 16, carrying three Americans – Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker – and Soichi Noguchi from JAXA, the Japanese space agency.
Glover, who joined NASA in 2013, will be the first Black astronaut to join the extended crew aboard the ISS following their 27-hour journey across space.
Across the space agency’s history, only 14 Black Americans have been sent to space from a total of more than 300 astronauts. While he’s not the first Black astronaut to board the space station, others before him only docked for a brief time, whereas Glover will stay for around six months.
When asked how he felt about making history, Glover said as per NASA:
It is something to be celebrated once we accomplish it, and I am honored to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew. And I look forward to getting up there and doing my best to make sure, you know, we are worthy of all the work that’s been put into setting us up for this mission.
You know, unlike the election – that is in the past or receding in the past – this mission is still ahead of me. So, let’s get there, and I’ll talk to you after I get on board.
In 1983, Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first Black American man to go to space. Mae Jemison, the first Black woman, went to space in 1992.
Jeanette Epps is also expected to be the first Black woman to join the ISS crew next year, when she flies aboard the first crewed trip on Boeing’s Starliner capsule.
Earlier this year, Glover firmly responded to a Twitter user who asked if astronauts could ‘stick to space’ instead of commenting on current affairs and injustices.
He wrote, ‘Actually no. 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.’
In a recent interview with The Christian Chronicle, he said of his historic launch, ‘I’ve had some amazing colleagues before me that really could have done it, and there are some amazing folks that will go behind me. I wish it would have already been done, but I try not to draw too much attention to it.’
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