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Excitement is building in the space community as news breaks that Victor Glover, a highly accomplished NASA astronaut and Navy pilot, will be making history as he rockets around the moon on the Artemis II mission. But there’s something even more groundbreaking about Glover’s mission—because he will be the first African American astronaut and Black man ever to do so.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Glover’s upcoming mission is a momentous occasion that will inspire people around the world as he sets a new standard for representation and excellence in the field of space exploration. The countdown is on, and all eyes are on Victor Glover as he prepares to make history.
About the Artemis II Moon Mission
The Artemis II mission will be the first crewed mission beyond low Earth orbit since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The spacecraft will be launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is currently under development. The crew will consist of four astronauts, which will include Victor Glover. They will spend approximately eight days in space, including six days in lunar orbit.
During the mission, the crew will test the spacecraft’s systems and perform a variety of scientific experiments. They will also test new technologies and procedures that will be used on future lunar missions, such as the Artemis III mission, which will land humans on the Moon’s surface.
The Artemis II spacecraft will be similar in design to the Orion spacecraft used in the uncrewed Artemis I mission, but with modifications to support human spaceflight. The spacecraft will carry a service module, which will provide propulsion, power, and life support systems, and an exploration upper stage, which will provide additional thrust to send the spacecraft around the Moon.
The Artemis II mission is crucial in NASA’s plan to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars. The mission will also pave the way for future exploration of the lunar surface and the development of new technologies and capabilities for human spaceflight.
Victor Glover’s Journey to Space Exploration
Victor Glover was inspired to become a NASA astronaut by his childhood fascination with flight and his love of science and engineering. He grew up in Southern California, where he was drawn to aviation at a young age. His father worked as a technician at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Glover often visited the facility with him, sparking his interest in space exploration and science.
As a student, Glover excelled in math and science and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, followed by a Master of Science degree in Flight Test Engineering from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. After serving as a Navy pilot and flight test engineer, he applied to become a NASA astronaut, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
NASA Astronaut Shares Importance of Growing Diversity in the Space Program
It took a collective effort to put an astronaut into space and on the moon. Not until recently did Americans learn the important contributions of Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan. Now, Victor Glover is leaving his mark on the space program.
In an interview with The Black Wall Street Times, Victor Glover spoke with Black Wall Street Times founder and editor-in-chief Nehemiah D. Frank. Our editor asked the former Navy Pilot turned NASA astronaut about STEM Education and diversity in the program.
“We are representative of the demographic makeup of this country [U.S.], and that’s a beautiful thing,” Glover said. “Because the first astronauts, the Mercury Seven, even though I look up to all seven of those gentlemen, they were all thirty-something, White, male, military test pilots, English-speaking-Christians. And that was intentional.”
Currently, Blacks or African Americans make up only 7.5% of the NASA program. However, it is worth noting that NASA has been working to improve diversity and inclusion within the agency, including through initiatives such as the Artemis program, which aims to put the first woman and a person of color on the Moon.
“Now we pick for diversity pulling together all of the tools and talents of our country and the amazing fabric that makes this a diverse and amazing country. And so that, to me, is a sign of progress,” he said.
Glover then added, “If you look at my class that was selected in 2013 and compare them to the Mercury Seven. That, to me, is an actual sign, an image of progress, that picture of the seven of them. They all look very similar to my class, which is four men and four women and are racially diverse. We’ve got gender diversity, but also, what you don’t see is the experience diversity – the diversity of skills. We don’t have all military. We don’t have all pilots or test pilots. It is a great mix of what makes this country and what makes this country great and amazing. And so I think that progress, that sign of progress, is one of the most encouraging things about spaceflight for me nowadays.”