On November 16, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, named Resilience, launched from Florida, carrying three Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi from JAXA,the Japanese space agency.
On the space station, Victor Glover will be the first member of the Black crew. Its expanded crew has never featured a Black astronaut in the twenty-some years that people have been working aboard the International Space Station. Only 14 black Americans have been sent from a total of more than 300 astronauts. Glover will stay there for around six months.
Out of a record of more than 300 astronauts, only 14 Black Americans have been sent to space in the history of the Space Agency.
Although he is not the first black astronaut to board a space station, others have only been docked for a short period before him, whereas Glover will last for around six months.
When asked how he felt about making history, Glover said as per NASA:
It is something to be celebrated once we accomplish it, and I am honored to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew. And 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.
Guion S. Bluford Jr. was the first black American man to go into space in 1983. The first black woman, Mae Jemison, went to space in 1992.
Jeanette Epps is also scheduled to be next year's first Black woman to join the ISS crew as she flies on Boeing's Starliner capsule on board the first crew trip.
Glover replied positively to a Twitter user earlier this year who wondered if astronauts should 'stick to space' instead of commenting on current affairs and injustices.
He wrote, ‘Actually no. 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.’
In a recent interview with The Christian Chronicle, he said of his historic launch, ‘I’ve had some amazing colleagues before me that really could have done it, and there are some amazing folks that will go behind me. I wish it would have already been done, but I try not to draw too much attention to it.’