As four astronauts prepare to board International Space Station (ISS), the occasion will mark the arrival of NASA’s first Black crew member, Victor Glover.
Glover will remain on the ISS for around six months, which is longer than any previous Black astronauts who have docked only briefly.
Out of more than 300 US astronauts that have been sent into the cosmos, only 14 have been Black.
When asked how he felt about making history, Glover told NASA: “It is something to be celebrated once we accomplish it, and I am honoured to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew.
“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.”
Glover is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University and earned a whopping three master’s degrees – in in-flight test engineering, systems engineering and military operational art and science – all in space of three years.
He has been vocal on the topic of racial injustices, recently firing back on Twitter at a follower who asked him if he should ‘stick to space’ rather than comment on the recent protests in the US.
“Actually no,” he replied. “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.”