US Vice President Kamala Harris made a cosmic call to the International Space Station last week to celebrate the milestone of NASA astronaut Victor Glover’s spaceflight in orbit.
The call, which NASA and the White House posted to YouTube on Saturday (February 27), came in the middle of Black History Month, as Glover is midway through a six-month flight to the station. space. He is the first black astronaut to fly a long-duration mission to the station.
“Victor, it’s so good to see you,” Harris said excitedly in the 3-minute video. “We are very proud of the history you are making.”
Related: Astronaut Victor Glover explains why we can’t always limit ourselves to space
Glover, 44, launched to the space station in November along with three other astronauts as part of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission for NASA. He is part of the station’s seven-person Expedition 64 crew and is conducting his first space flight since joining NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013.
Harris, who is the first woman and woman of color elected as vice president, asked Glover what she thought about her own achievement as the first African-American astronaut to fly a long-duration mission to the space station. The astronaut said that his flight was only possible thanks to the astronauts and cosmonauts who came before him to bring humanity to its current point in space exploration.
On April 12, the world will celebrate 60 years of manned space flight. The first person to fly into space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, launched that day in 1961.
“I really appreciate that legacy and try to do everything I can to honor it,” Glover said. “I think that right now, it is a time when we should celebrate and appreciate the current state of manned space flight.”
“But really what excites me the most is the future of manned spaceflight and the fact that this will be the future, this is what we are going to do for the foreseeable future,” Glover added. “So yeah, that was the first time, but it won’t be the only time that happened.”
“My mother would tell me, ‘Kamala, you can be the first to do a lot of things, but make sure you’re not the last,'” she said.
Harris asked Glover about his recent spacewalks on January 27 and February 1 (he took another today, February 28) to update the International Space Station, and how his view of Earth from space provides a glimpse of the challenges of our planet.
“It’s a spectacular thing to see from here, and it’s very obvious to see from here how thin our atmosphere is, how special it is that there is human life on this planet,” Glover said of the view. “And then, it makes me want to do whatever I can to protect that.”
“You inspire us and remind us of what is possible when we dream big and when we think big,” Harris said.
Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] or follow him at @tariqjmalik. Follow us on @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.