NASA’s first Black crew member is amongst the four astronauts who are on their way to the International Space Station.
Resilience, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, launched from Florida on the morning of November 16, Unilad reveals. The crew members on board are Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi, and Victor Glover – the first Black astronaut to live aboard the ISS.
Seven years after Glover joined the space agency, he finally has the chance to make history by becoming the first African-American to join the crew en route to the ISS, following their 27-hour journey across space.
Throughout NASA’s chronicles, from a total of 300 astronauts, there are only 14 Black Americans who have been sent on space missions. While most of them had the possibility to explore space for a brief period of time, Glover will stay for around six months.
Talking about the massive opportunity and the act of making history with his ISS attendance, Glover said:
“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.”
Who are the other NASA African-Americans who made history in the space agency?
The first Black American man who went to space was Guion S. Bluford Jr. In 1983, Bluford became a member of the SDS-8 space shuttle Challenger crew.
The first Black woman who went to space was Mae Jemison. She joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1987 and was selected to serve for the STS-47 mission. In 1992, during the mission, Jemison orbited the Earth for nearly eight days.
As for the future, the first Black woman to join the ISS crew in 2021 is expected to be the aerospace engineer Jeanette Epps.
In an interview with The Christian Chronicle, while talking about his space journey, Victor Glover says:
“It is bittersweet because 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.”
Furthermore, earlier this year, defending the purpose of astronauts, he wrote:
“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.”