What Does Victor Glover Jr.'s Selection for NASA's Artemis II Moon Mission Mean for the Californian Black Community?


Victor Glover Jr.Photo byWikimedia commons

NASA astronaut Victor J. Glover is expected to make history by traveling to the Moon and becoming the first black person to do so. Glover was introduced as Artemis II's pilot on April 3, 2023. With him on the Artemis II mission will be NASA astronauts Gregory Reid Wiseman and Christina Koch, as well as Jeremy Hensen, an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The four astronauts are going to round the Moon as part of the Artemis II mission. They will do it while riding an Orion spacecraft propelled into space by an SLS rocket. The Artemis II mission will last for ten days and will verify and stress the life-support equipment of the Orion spacecraft. The goal of this mission is to demonstrate that people have the capabilities and skills necessary to live and operate in deep space in ways that are unique to them.

Who Exactly is Victor J. Glover?

Glover was born in the Central Valley city of Pomona. He has four children with his wife, the former Dionna Odom. He attended Naval Postgraduate School and graduated with a master's in systems engineering in 2009. He attended Air University in Alabama and graduated in 2010 with a military mission, art, and science degree. Glover was chosen as the U. S. Navy's exchange pilot to enter the Air Force Test Pilot School after he earned a degree in space systems from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Throughout his year-long experimental test flying program, he logged over 30 flight hours in aircraft around the U. S. and Italy.

On June 9, 2007, Glover received his test pilot designation. Afterward, Glover attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and earned a degree in legislative studies. Glover has logged over 3,000 fly hours across 40 different aircraft, 400 ship-arrested landings, and 24 combat missions.

Victor Glover got married to former Berkeley local Dionna Odom, and the two have raised four children together. His mom lives in SoCal, but his dad and stepmom call Prosper, TX, home.

How Did Glover React to This?

"I was speechless, I was shocked. I mean, I'm still a little bit in shock," Glover admitted. "I'm still processing all this, but it's humbling and exciting."

He continued, "My very first flight was July 6 of 2000, and so in that time, I've developed a little bit of a framework for how I learned complex systems from, you know, the F-18 Hornet, or the aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, which I served on and had to learn a lot about, or the International Space Station. You've got all of these different systems, but I break it down into some simple things that I want to know. 'How do I use it? How do I break it? And how does it break me?'"

It’s Significance for the Black Community

Despite the fact that there is no gravity in orbit, Glover claims that he is acutely aware of the significance of the current situation. He said, "Kids of all colors look up to us, specifically me. And I know that, but I am also glad little kids who look like I looked when I was a kid can see themselves in me and what I do."

“Our astronaut corps represents our country, and this mission represents that astronaut corps. And that is possible because of decisions made a long time ago intentionally to make representation and diversity, bringing the tools and talents, and skills of our entire country together to attack the most complex problems humans have ever faced. And so I love that this mission is representative of all that.”

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