Victor Glover says he does not need the consideration. Not for this, at least. And I imagine him.
“I wish that there wasn’t anything to talk about, but that’s not the world that we live in,” the NASA astronaut acknowledged throughout a current interview.
The time we dwell in is the 12 months 2020, an age that finds the United States riven but once more by racial tensions, sparked to life by the killing of George Floyd in May and exacerbated by an awfully tense presidential election.
In the midst of all this, Glover is on the cusp of living his dream. Selected to turn into an astronaut in 2013, after coaching like hell for seven years, he is landed a coveted spot on the first operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station. As one of 4 astronauts on the Crew-1 mission, launching Saturday night, Glover is serving to to steer America again into area.
Also, Vic Glover is Black.
So with his flight, Glover is not solely making history as the US will get again into the enterprise of human spaceflight, he’ll turn into the first Black particular person to dwell on the area station. This looks like a stunning reality. The area station has now been inhabited for more than 20 years, in spite of everything, and 126 people have lived there throughout that time. But none have been Black. Six African-American astronauts visited the area station throughout shuttle missions, however none stayed aboard as long-term crew members.
When requested about this, Glover tends to deflect. The 4 members of the Crew-1 mission have adopted the “all for one” motto, he explains. “Our crew very intentionally decided to do certain things in certain ways, so that we can tell that message about teamwork, and commitment to excellence, in working together with differences,” he stated.
It’s not that Glover has not thought of America’s racial issues. But astronauts are strongly inspired to share solely optimistic messages with the public. Going in opposition to this suggestion can have adverse penalties for flight alternatives. And but in the wake of Floyd’s killing, Glover was clearly struggling with these points.
“My heart is low, my head is level, and my faith is high. So much to process, if you’re struggling, that’s OK. I see you, I am you,” he wrote on Twitter in early June. One follower steered, maybe, that Glover ought to stick with area on his Twitter account. “Actually no,” Glover 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.”
Pressed a little more throughout the interview, Glover stated one cause he has not spoken more about these points publicly—past a few Twitter feedback—is that he has not truly gone to area but. He’d desire to talk about issues that he is achieved quite than issues he has but to realize.
“I would love to have another conversation with you six months from now, because I try to stay away from the bittersweet discussion of being the first Black astronaut assigned to a long-duration mission on the space station,” he stated. “I want to go do it first, I want to go do my job, and so I think the best thing that I can do, better than anything I could say, is to go do my job and do it well, and then come back and tell people about it. And I think this job, by its very nature, is inspirational and hopefully gives people something to unify around and celebrate together. And if we can do that, when we get back we have a lot of amazing things to talk about.”
So the Crew-1 mission is not about Glover. But if it is a success, and Glover’s story of going from the interior metropolis to Test Pilot School to area helps raise up America, he is good with that.
Glover may also turn into the first Black astronaut to enter area in almost a decade. Alvin Drew is the last Black flier—having served as a mission specialist on STS-133 in 2011. He does not imagine racism contributed to the almost decade-long gulf drought. Rather, Drew stated, it principally displays the proven fact that the Black astronauts who remained in the corps after the area shuttle program ended have been junior and, on account of restricted seats on Soyuz automobiles, needed to wait a long time.
All the identical, he eagerly anticipates Glover’s flight to the area station. It’s essential for Black boys and ladies to see folks like them flying into area, living there, and contributing to exploration of the cosmos. “You want them to see there is still that opportunity,” Drew stated. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
The subsequent hole will not be so long. NASA has already introduced that one other Black astronaut, Jeannette Epps, will fly to the International Space Station aboard the first operational mission of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. That flight might happen in 2021 however will more doubtless slip into 2022 on account of ongoing software program issues with the Boeing capsule.