NASA Astronaut Victor Glover is making history as the first African American to be selected by the agency to live at the International Space Station (ISS) for a long-duration mission. Glover is the 15th African American astronaut to travel to space, out of over 300 astronauts NASA has launched. Glover served as Commander for the United States Navy and is a Pilot with over 3,000 hours of flying experience on more than 40 different aircraft, 400 carrier landings, and 24 combat missions. Besides serving the Navy, Glover worked as a Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate. He is now working as flight engineer at the orbiting laboratory.
Glover embarked on the adventure of his dreams last month. On November 15, he launched on his first voyage to space aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. A Falcon 9 rocket propelled him and three crewmates to the space station 254-miles above Earth's surface. The Crew-1 mission is SpaceX’s first operational flight to ISS. Glover is serving as Crew-1 spacecraft pilot. –“'I'm a rookie astronaut, I'm the pilot and going to be learning the ropes from a very experienced crew,” he stated. When he arrived to space into the microgravity environment, Glover was given a golden pin for his uniform from the mission commander NASA Astronaut Michael Hopkins and his Crew-1 friends Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who congratulated him.
–“When the engine cut off and we were in orbit, it was surreal…” Glover said, “I've seen a ton of pictures, but when I first looked out the window at Earth, it’s hard to describe. There are no words, there are no words to describe it. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime feeling," he said. After a 27-hour voyage, the astronauts arrived to ISS and Dragon docked to the Harmony module on November 16th. Glover and his crewmates are expected to return to Earth aboard the SpaceX spacecraft in six months.
Now that Crew-1 is settled in micro-gravity, NASA astronaut Glover answered students’ questions from the Space Station on Thursday. He took questions from students from around the country about what it is like to live and work in space microgravity environment. –“I've bumped into quite a few things, but I'm working on it. I'm practicing. Floating in space is really awesome,” Glover said.
The question session was hosted by two Smithsonian Institution museums – “the National Air and Space Museum … and the National Museum of African American History and Culture – are combining forces to engage students in a virtual art program to portray their vision of teamwork. Glover will introduce the art project in a prerecorded message discussing the importance of teamwork,” the agency stated in a press release. The first question came from a student who asked him for advice about becoming a pilot and astronaut. Glover told the student that one must always be resilient, a life-long learner and a team player.
Another student, a little girl from Georgia, asked Glover how does water behave in space. “What is water like in space and where does it go!?” she said. Glover demonstrated from the Space Station how water floats in space, video below. –“It’s pretty amazing!” he says.
🤔 How does water behave in space? Watch the video to see @AstroVicGlover demonstrate what happens to water in a microgravity environment!— NASA STEM Engagement (@NASASTEM) December 3, 2020
Teachers! 👩🏫👨🏫Looking for ways to demonstrate surface tension to students? Check out this STEMonstration: https://t.co/lCJm4nWQnN pic.twitter.com/87Du2lGdhP
A student from California asked Glover how color is perceived in space and how its like to view Earth. –“The colors are so rich and so beautiful because you are seeing it the way that it really is … its amazing! I think you should come up here and see it for yourself,” he said. Another student asked Glover if he played with his food in space, zero gravity. –“I always play with my food in space! …”
🍔🍓🍪 Would you play with your food if you were in space? @AstroVicGlover says he sure does!— NASA STEM Engagement (@NASASTEM) December 3, 2020
Teachers! 👩🏫👨🏫Teach your students about the importance of astronaut nutrition with this STEMonstration: https://t.co/8ApaaisMku pic.twitter.com/Z5C5r2RWcU
A student from Germany asked Glover: "...How important is teamwork to being an astronaut?" To which Glover responded, "Wow, I could spend this whole time talking about the importance of teamwork. It is absolutley vital. From the four of us that flew aboard Crew Dragon, training during a pandemic [Covid-19], it was very evident how important it was for us to... take care of one another," he said, video below. "...We also have a team all over the planet that has helped to train us and they also help us to operate the Space Station. They're all over the world. Its vital for us to make sure that we work together... We also have that very important team that we call -Family. They are vital to accomplishing this successfully. Their love and support is what made this possible for me.
Glover ended the question session by telling the students during the Live broadcast -- “Thank you to the kids out there! Continue to take care of yourselves and take care of one another. And lets explore together!” Glover said.
To learn how you can connect your students with @NASA_Astronauts aboard the @Space_Station for a live Q&A session about living and working in space, visit https://t.co/bRgNa8xd8K. ✨ pic.twitter.com/zKPzLqvjzC— NASA STEM Engagement (@NASASTEM) December 3, 2020
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.