He Was On Vacation When NASA Called To Be A Dragon Rider For His First Space Flight

NASA Astronaut Victor Glover was on a cruise when NASA called to assign his first space mission, on the second flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, the first fully operational long-duration Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Yesterday, NASA – along with Commercial Crew partners Boeing and SpaceX – announced the long-awaited astronauts who will fly the first missions back to space from U.S. soil since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. Flying on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, eight NASA astronauts (and one Boeing test pilot astronaut) will fly the initial orbital flight tests and first operational missions to the International Space Station, and Victor Glover, one of NASA’s “rookies”, got the call of a lifetime to fly his first space mission while he was on vacation.

I actually found out last month and I was on a cruise ship, somewhere between Rome and Barcelona,” said Glover in a Reddit ‘Ask me Anything’ following NASA’s crew announcement this week. “So I guess that’s how I celebrated! I didn’t plan it, but if I had it wouldn’t have been that cool.

Glover was selected by NASA to become an astronaut candidate in 2013, along with 8 others from a pool of 6,300 applications.

NASA Astronaut Victor Glover was on a cruise when NASA called to assign his first space mission, on the second flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, the first fully operational long-duration Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

“The thing that really draws me and excites me about the future is the opportunity to be a part of kindling America’s passion for aerospace,” says Glover. “I think there is something special about flying, and especially flying in space, that it just draws people’s fascination and passions. Being a part of that I think is what excites me the most.”

His first flight to space will be on a SpaceX Crew Dragon, a ‘Dragon Rider’ on the company’s second Crew Dragon mission, which will be the first fully operational ‘Post Certification” SpaceX mission with astronauts to the International Space Station for a long-duration stay of likely several months.

I am overwhelmed and humbled to be a part of the SpaceX team for my first flight! Feeling extremely grateful that the agency and our leadership have confidence in these crews to be part of such a critical mission,” tweeted Glover after NASA’s formal announcement to the world August 3. “This is a big step for NASA and for our Nation!

Veteran ISS resident Mike Hopkins (right) and Victor Glover will fly aboard the first Post-Certification Mission (PCM) of the Crew Dragon in late 2019 or early 2020. Photo Credit: NASA

The U.S. Navy Lt. Commander turned NASA astronaut has over 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft, along with over 400 carrier arrested landings and 24 combat missions to his name. A native of California, married with four children, he holds a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, as well as a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and Master of Military Operational Art and Science from Air University in Montgomery, Alabama.

Glover also holds a Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering (USAF TPS) from Air University, Edwards Air Force Base, California, and has earned numerous awards and honors, including a Navy Commendation Medal and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals from his military service.

He earned his wings on early 2001, and went on to the Marine Fleet Replacement Squadron, VMFAT‐101 before becoming a “Blue Blaster” with Strike Fighter Squadron VFA‐34 in Oceana, Virginia, whom he served with on the final deployment of the USS John F. Kennedy (CV‐67) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Glover has flown more than 40 aircraft throughout his Naval career, including Electronic Attack EA-18G Growlers like see here. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / @MikeKillianPhotography

Afterwards, he was selected as the Navy’s exchange pilot to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School, where he participated in a one‐year experimental test piloting course flying more than 30 aircraft in the U.S. and Italy, before becoming a test pilot in 2007 and serving with the Dust Devils of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX‐31 in China Lake, California, testing various weapons systems on the F/A-18 Hornet, Super Hornet and EA‐18G Growler.

Glover received orders to the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in 2009, and then reported to the “Dambusters” of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA‐195, in Atsugi, Japan, where he deployed three times across the Pacific Ocean, before moving on and heading to D.C. to be a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate in 2012.

He completed his Astronaut Candidate Training in 2015, keeping busy with T-38 flight training and getting qualified in the airplane, spacewalk training in NASA’s 6.2 million-gallon Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) pool, learning space station systems and how to speak Russian, and learning about robotics – all of which will play critical roles on his Crew Dragon flight and space station stay in the next year or two.

Glover after spacewalk / EVA training in NASA’s NBL. Photo: NASA

But being in the pool, in the suit, I’ve loved it,” says Glover. “I love being in the spacesuit, I’ve always liked working with my hands.”

And now, he’s training on Dragon’s systems and his upcoming mission, which is expected to launch in the later half of 2019 or in the first half of 2020, launching with fellow crew member and veteran astronaut Mike Hopkins atop a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“Because this is going to be my first time flying in space, every moment of this journey is the first time that I will get to experience that thing–whatever it is,” he says. “First launch. First hatch opening. First spacewalk. First entry and first landing. I’m really looking forward to all of those firsts.”

And when it comes to his ultimate dream for his astronaut career?

To walk on the moon,” he says.

 

 

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1 comment to He Was On Vacation When NASA Called To Be A Dragon Rider For His First Space Flight

  • Art

    Who would’ve ever thought that a brash loudmouth like Musk would have a company leading America back to launching astronauts from Kennedy. Not me. But it has been some ride over the past 16 years.

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