Black History Month Feature: Blacks Walking in Space
Victor Glover walks in space this week

Last updated on February 12th, 2021 at 06:53 pm

NASA astronaut and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover is pictured inside the U.S. Quest airlock during spacesuit maintenance work. The U.S. spacesuits have their arm segments unattached and the helmets covered for protection.

In November 2020, NASA astronaut Victor Glover launched on his first spaceflight, becoming the first Black astronaut to live on the International Space Station as part of a long-duration mission. Glover is the first African American ISS Expedition crewmember to live on the ISS, not just visit the ISS for a short stay like on the Space Shuttle as an ISS assembly astronaut, as have most of the 14 other Black Americans NASA has sent to space out of a total of more than 300 NASA astronauts.

SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Resilience launched on November 15, 2020, carrying Glover as the pilot  together with two other NASA astronauts (Michael S. Hopkins and Shannon Walker) as well as Soichi Noguchi of Japan. They arrived at the space station on November 17.

Glover and Hopkins concluded their first spacewalk at 12:24 p.m. CST, on Wednesday, January 27, after completing a number of tasks designed to upgrade International Space Station systems. This was the first spacewalk for Glover with a total of 6 hours and 56 minutes. Glover and Hopkins concluded their second spacewalk at 12:16 p.m. CST, on Monday, February 1, after 5 hours and 20 minutes, completing work to replace batteries that provide power for the station’s solar arrays and upgrade several of the station’s external cameras. Glover now has spent a total of 12 hours and 16 minutes spacewalking.

NASA spacewalker and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works to ready the International Space station’s port-side truss structure for future solar array upgrades.

Space station crew members have conducted 234 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 61 days, 7 hours, and 7 minutes working outside the station. Two additional spacewalks are planned for the near future. During the next spacewalk, Glover and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will work outside the station to prepare its power system for the installation of new solar arrays to increase the station’s existing power supply. For a following spacewalk, Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi will continue upgrading station components. The dates have not yet been set for these two events.

Glover joins a very select fraternity of now five African Americans who have walked in space, among the 15 total who have traveled there. Bernard A. Harris Jr. was the first African American to walk in space, in 1995; followed by Winston E. Scott, veteran of three spacewalks; Robert Curbeam, veteran of seven spacewalks; Robert Satcher, whose two EVAs were on November 19 and November 23, 2009; and Alvin Drew, veteran of two spacewalks, February 28 and March 2, 2011.

(top row l-r) Guion Bluford, Ronald McNair, Frederick D. Gregory, Charles Bolden, Mae Jemison, (middle row l-r) Michael P. Anderson, Stephanie Wilson, Joan Higginbotham, Leland D. Melvin, Robert Curbeam, (bottom row l-r) Robert Lawrence, Robert Satcher, Winston Scott, Bernard Anthony Harris Jr, and Alvin Drew.

Here are photos of all fifteen Black astronauts who have traveled in space, including Guion Bluford (the first African-American astronaut in space), Ronald McNair (who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster), Frederick D. Gregory (the first African American to pilot and command a Space Shuttle mission and acting Administrator of NASA in 2005), Charles Bolden (Administrator of NASA, 2009 – 2017), Mae Jemison (first African-American woman in space), Michael P. Anderson (who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster), Stephanie Wilson (veteran of three shuttle missions), Joan Higginbotham, and Leland D. Melvin (Associate Administrator for Education at NASA).

Special Black History Month Note: Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., born October 2, 1935, died December 8, 1967, was the actual first African-American astronaut. He was selected for astronaut training in 1967 for the MOL program, but died tragically in an aircraft accident.

Meet Victor Glover

NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-1 Pilot Victor Glover, Flight Engineer for Expedition 64. (photo: NASA/Norah Moran)

Victor Jerome Glover (born April 30, 1976) is a NASA astronaut of the class of 2013, and Pilot on the first operational flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. Glover is a commander in the U.S. Navy where he pilots an F/A-18, and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. He is a crew member of Expedition 64, serving as a station systems flight engineer.

Glover, who grew up in Pomona, California, graduated from Ontario High School (California) in 1994, where he was a quarterback and running back for the Jaguars. He was awarded Athlete of the Year 1994. He attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California on a wrestling scholarship and received his Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering in 1999. Glover is a member (1996) of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Glover has three Master of Science degrees: Master of Science in Flight test engineering, Air University (United States Air Force) (USAF TPS), Edwards Air Force Base, California, 2007; Master of Science in Systems Engineering (PD‐21), Naval Postgraduate School, 2009; and Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air University (United States Air Force), Montgomery, Alabama, 2010. Glover also completed a Space Systems Certificate from the Naval Postgraduate School whilst on deployment, and a Certificate in Legislative Studies at Georgetown University whilst serving as a Legislative Fellow.

Glover joined the US Navy, completing advanced flight training in 2001, later training for the F/A-18C with the Marine Fleet Replacement Squadron. In 2003 he was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 34 stationed in Virginia, and embarked on the final deployment of USS John F. Kennedy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After attending the Air Force Test Pilot School, in 2007 he was designated a test pilot, serving with the VX-31 in California. In 2011, he served as a department head in Strike-Fighter Squadron 195 (VFA-195) stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan and embarked on the USS George Washington.

Glover’s call-sign is “Ike”, a name given to him by one of his first commanding officers, standing for “I Know Everything”. He has accumulated 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft, over 400 carrier arrested landings and 24 combat missions for the United States Navy. In 2012 he served as a legislative fellow working on the personal staff of John McCain. It was during this time that he was selected for the 2013 NASA Astronaut group.

In August 2018 Glover was introduced as one of the Commercial Crew astronauts, assigned to fly on the first operational flight, and the second crewed flight overall, of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, and piloted the craft on ISS Expeditions 64 and 65. He is married to Dionna Odom Glover and they have four daughters.

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