SpaceX astronaut’s father sheds light on son’s journey to NASA

Before+lift+off%2C+SpaceX+astronauts+Shannon+Walker%2C+Victor+Glover+Jr.%2C+Michael+Hopkins+and+Soichi+Noguchi+stand+in+front+of+the+Crew+Dragon+spacecraft.+The+capsule+took+off+from+the+Kennedy+Space+Center+in+Florida+on+Nov.+24.+%22The+four+astronauts+that+went+up+on+this+recent+mission+prove+that+anybody%2C+no+matter+your+background%2C+can+do+something+as+daunting+as+traveling+into+space+if+you+work+for+it%2C%22+junior+Sam+Sidhu+said.

Courtesy of Victor Glover Sr.

Before lift off, SpaceX astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover Jr., Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi stand in front of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The capsule took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 24. “The four astronauts that went up on this recent mission prove that anybody, no matter your background, can do something as daunting as traveling into space if you work for it,” junior Sam Sidhu said.

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3. 2. 1. Liftoff. The glow of the rocket illuminates the sky, slowly disappearing into the atmosphere. As others cheer, one proud father in the crowd stands in awe, tears streaming down his face.

On Tuesday, November 24, all eyes were on the four astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon rocket, headed for their six-month expedition in the International Space Station (ISS). For the country, it was witnessing a new era of space discovery take off, but for one parent, it was witnessing his pride and joy make history as the first African-American astronaut to arrive at the ISS for a six-month term.

Victor Glover Sr. has watched his son, Victor Glover Jr., take his dreams and turn them into reality with the help of his work ethic and constant support from his family.

“With what he’s done, it’s very, very, very surreal,” Glover Sr. said. “The nice part about it is watching him follow his dreams and being willing to put in the work and commitment to achieve what he set out to accomplish.”

Standing alongside his family, Victor Glover Jr. waves a hand before departing. Glover Jr. made history as the first African-American astronaut to dock at the International Space Station for a six-month period. “When he was selected for this mission, which happened probably 30 months ago, I was really excited for him because I knew this was what he wanted,” Glover Sr. said. “Just watching him through the whole process of training and getting ready for this mission has been pretty interesting.” (Courtesy of Victor Glover Sr.)

Glover Sr. describes his son as having “very significant dreams” and that if there’s one thing he’s discovered about Glover Jr., it’s “to never doubt him when he says he’s going to do something.”

“When he was selected for this mission, which happened probably 30 months ago, I was really excited for him because I knew this was what he wanted,” Glover Sr. said. “Just watching him through the whole process of training and getting ready for this mission has been pretty interesting.” 

Glover Jr. became fascinated with space and engineering at a young age, according to Glover Sr., and soon began to take his curiosity to the real world.  

“Back in elementary school he had the chance to see a space shuttle launch, and watching that space shuttle launch, he said, ‘I’d really like to fly that.’” Glover Sr. said. “I mean he was very intrigued by that, and along with that curiosity he had this unique gift, I call it, of being able to take things and dissect them. He’d like to take things and take them apart to see how’d they work.”

Going into college, Glover Jr. wanted to pursue a degree in engineering, and head into the U.S. Navy as a fighter jet pilot. Glover Jr. graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and was a commander pilot of an F/A-18 before his mission.

“When he went off to college, his comment to me was that, ‘Dad, I’m going to do something that’s going to change the world.’” Glover Sr. said. “You look at him now and he really is, in his own way as an astronaut, helping to change the world.”

Glover Sr. describes the day of the launch as a “surreal experience” and that it was all a “combination of his (Glover Jr.’s) hard work, his commitment and dedication to his craft” that led Glover Jr. to that moment.

I wasn’t really nervous, I wasn’t scared, it was more of just I was in awe of the whole thing. When that rocket lit up and everything started lifting off, I just kind of sat there and watched in awe as the tears were flowing down my face.”

— Victor Glover Sr.

“For me, at the launch, I was just in awe,” Glover Sr. said. “I wasn’t really nervous. I wasn’t scared. It was more of just I was in awe of the whole thing. When that rocket lit up and everything started lifting off, I just kind of sat there and watched in awe as the tears were flowing down my face.”

Even with their son orbiting Earth 254 miles away, Glover Sr. and the rest of the Glover family find time to communicate with the International Space Station.  

“He can call us on the phone periodically, so we’ve actually talked to him several times already.” Glover Sr. said. “And even that’s pretty cool cause you’re thinking, ‘Man, I’m talking to my son while he’s up there circling the Earth at 17,500 miles an hour.’”

Prosper High School’s assistant tennis coach and family friend of the Glovers Hollie Cunningham sees Glover Jr.’s work as a reflection of her own accomplishments and hopes that his work ethic can inspire her students to push themselves to reach those same goals of success.

“For him to accomplish those goals that he’s had as a little kid is really fun to see because when I was a little kid, my goal was to play college tennis, and I had to work super hard for that,” Cunningham said. “So it’s neat to see him accomplish his goals. I accomplished those goals, and it’s a way for me to help motivate my athletes to accomplish whatever goals they have set in their life.”

Cunningham has looked to Glover Jr.’s journey as a source of inspiration for not only herself, but for her student athletes as well.

“Just how driven he is, that is something that I want my student athletes to have, is to be driven for success in life,” Cunningham said.

Junior Sam Sidhu is a student in the NASA aerospace program, and said he finds the SpaceX program fascinating, as well as a huge step in historic space discovery.


“What SpaceX has done with the Crew Dragon and other projects is nothing short of incredible,” Sidhu said. “As somebody interested in space, it is really cool to see the renewed enthusiasm in American space flight and the enthusiasm for human space exploration in general.”

Sidhu said he’s inspired by the achievements that the Crew Dragon astronauts have accomplished and described their mission as a “display that a career as monumental as space and rocket science is actually achievable.”

“The four astronauts that went up on this recent mission prove that anybody, no matter your background, can do something as daunting as traveling into space if you work for it,” Sidhu said.

From his beginnings as a curious innovator and engineer, Glover Jr. has inspired his family, friends, and young audience of aspiring space explorers, and has proven that any dream is achievable with the right amount of hard work and dedication throughout the process.

“It’s hard to describe the emotion because ‘proud’ just doesn’t do it justice,” Victor Glover Sr. said. “He’s inspired me from the respect that I have seen. I’ve seen how hard he works, but I’ve also seen how humble he is for being where he’s at.”