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Everything to Know About Our First Black Astronaut to Fly Around The Moon

NASA announced the first woman and first Black person assigned to fly around the moon.

By Kalyn Womack | The Root

The last mission sending a crew of astronauts to fly around the moon was in 1972. Monday, NASA announced their latest lunar mission which will make history assigning the first woman and African American astronaut to the moon crew, according to The Associated Press.

The lunar mission is simply to fly around the moon and come back to earth. The report says their launch is planned for no later than 2024. The complete crew in NASA’s Orion capsule will be Reid Wiseman, Christina Koch (who is the record holder for the longest spaceflight by a woman), Jeremy Hansen from the Canadian Space Agency and the man of the hour, Victor Glover.

Here’s everything to know about the first Black astronaut to go to the moon.

From Senate to Space

According to NASA’s website, Glover was serving as a Legislative Fellow for John McCain in the Senate when he was called to join the Astronaut Group 21 team in 2013.

Extensive Education

Glover obtained a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering from California Polytechnic State University in 1999. He got his Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering at Air University on the Edwards Air Force Base in 2007 and another Master of Science in Systems Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School in 2009. Then, he obtained a final Master’s degree in Military Operational Art and Science at Air University, Montgomery in 2010.

Seasoned Veteran

Glover has an expansive military career. He began in the Navy in 1999, became a Naval Aviator in 2001, worked as a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet and was deployed with the Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-34. During deployment is when he completed his Space Systems Certificate.

Coming to NASA

Let’s be clear, this isn’t Glover’s first time going to space. He’s accumulated over 3,000 flight hours during his career. When Glover was chosen to become a member of the 21st NASA astronaut class, he completed a series of trainings over the next two years that prepared him to take flight. As of now, he completed 168 days in orbit, participated in four spacewalks and was the first Black astronaut to complete a long-term stay on the International Space Station for Expedition 64, serving as a flight engineer.

His Role in Artemis II

Glover will be the pilot of the lunar mission. The goal os the mission is to prove the Orion “spacecraft’s life-support systems and validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space,” according to Cal Poly school officials, via KSBY. Glover was previously served as pilot and second-in-command on the SpaceX Crew Dragon which launched in November 2020 and returned in May 2021.

Nicknamed for His Knowledge

According to The New York Times, Glover’s colleagues refer to him as “Ike” which stands for “I know everything.” The callsign was given to him by a former commanding officer.

Reactions to His New Assignment

Glover appeared overjoyed at the announcement. He said being picked was like winning the lottery, per CBS News

“Wait, wait! We won the astronaut Powerball. We know how big this moment is, and I personally feel it’s so much bigger than me or my name being attached to it,” he said. In a joke he said he felt like Denzel Washington should be the one on stage. An announcement like this surely must feel like a something out of a movie.

Glover said this was an important moment in human history and that it is the next step in the journey that gets humanity to Mars.

Glover’s father, Victor Glover Sr. was also excited and a little emotional finding out the good news about his son’s next adventure.

“Obviously I had tears in my eyes. I was wiping the tears away,” said Glover, Sr. “When you hear kids talk about, ‘I want to be president. I want to be an astronaut.’ I can point to my son and say, well, he did it.”

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