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Victor Glover Jr. Will Be the First Black Man to Travel to the Moon

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have announced the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon on Artemis II, the first crewed mission on NASA’s path to establishing a long-term presence on the Moon for science and exploration through Artemis. This will not only be the first crew to travel to the Moon in over 50 years, but will include the first Black man ever to make the journey: Victor Glover Jr.

If being an astronaut is the bar for success, Glover has gone above and beyond. Growing up in Pomona, California, Glover spent his college years splitting his time between military service and academics—earning his Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 1999, the same year he was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. He earned his naval aviator wings a few short years later. Glover went on to serve with the Marine Fleet Replacement Squadron VMFAT‐101 and the Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA‐34, where he completed the final deployment of the USS John F. Kennedy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Glover was then selected as the United States Navy’s exchange pilot to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School. During the one‐year experimental test piloting course, he flew more than 30 aircraft in the U.S. and Italy and earned his Master of Science degree in flight test engineering. He immediately went to work as a test pilot, where he simultaneously earned his Master of Science in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from Air University.

Following graduation, Glover reported to the Dambusters of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA‐195 in Atsugi, Japan, where he served as a department head. With the Dambusters, he deployed three times to various locations in the Pacific Ocean. Three years later, Glover was selected for the Legislative Fellowship, where he reported to the Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington, D.C., and was assigned to the office of a U.S. Senator. Glover was a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate when he was eventually selected as an astronaut candidate. Glover accumulated 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft, over 400 carrier-arrested landings and 24 combat missions.

Following his time with the Senate, Glover became one of the eight individuals selected for NASA’s 2013 graduating class, officially making him an astronaut. His first mission came in 2020 and continued into 2021 when he served as the pilot for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1, the first operational mission to the International Space Station in a commercially operated spacecraft. Glover also served as Flight Engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 64, contributing to many things aboard the station, including scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, growing crops and taking hundreds of pictures of Earth. He completed 168 days in orbit and participated in four spacewalks.

While the Artemis II journey won’t be as long as his SpaceX mission, Artemis II could arguably be Glover’s most important assignment as an astronaut. This mission will mark the newest generation of space exploration and the most inclusive one. Artemis II’s four-person crew consists of the first Black man, the first woman and the first Canadian to go to space, two of which were seen as rare possibilities during the last mission of this size over 50 years ago.

“And so, this mission also has the power to unify and bring our country together,” Glover Jr. said of Artemis II to LAist, “But more important than that is also to heal and to acknowledge a little bit of our history and where we were and where we are now…I hope this crew can continue to serve as an inspiration for diversity and representation as we go on to explore for all.”

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