A SpaceX rocket carrying an astronaut who grew up in the Inland Empire has arrived at the International Space Station.
NASA held a press conference early Thursday featuring four astronauts who travelled via a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.
One of those astronauts was Victor Glover, who was raised in Pomona and went to Ontario High School.
Glover says he hopes his participation in the launch will inspire others in the Inland Empire and beyond.
“I hope that this inspires people to literally and figuratively look up. I really think having something to look up to now, especially as we bring 2020 to a close, it's just something that we all need."
Glover says the whole experience is awe-inspiring.
“You know, it's so many different feelings, it's hard to explain, it really is hard to put into words the awe of seeing the space station even over our video system from Dragon and then feeling the soft contact, the slow deceleration as we made contact with the station. And then making full contact and pressurizing, all of these emotions, the happiness, the relief, but then knowing that we've got work to do and wanting to contribute and also getting used to space," Glover says.
"I was very slow, my brain is constantly trying to figure out where up is, and I don't know if it's because I'm a new guy, they made me sleep in the ceiling, so every time I pop my head out, the entire space station is upside down. So I just stay upside down as much as possible. But that I think requires extra processing, and so everything else takes me so much longer and so I'm trying to push through that and get work done, but it is an interesting challenge that I actually find slightly amusing. So it's been a whole bunch of emotions and honestly, I'm still processing it, I've been writing little notes to myself and things in my journal and hopefully I'll be able to look back on it and be able to give you a better, more concise answer. But it is so many different feelings, but excitement is definitely one of them.”
When asked about his commitment to social justice and concern for climate change, Glover said participating in this mission deepens his commitment to those causes.
“I'll say this: if anything, it strengthens my resolve in all of those areas because I believe that what I've said and what I've tried to work for is just what's right. To be honest and upfront with people, and then to work for what's right. And I think that doing the right thing is always in order. So looking at the planet from this perspective, I went almost a full day up here before I went and looked out the cupula in the daytime to see the Earth and these beautiful land masses and oceans without lines or words drawn on them. And also to look out at Dragon, it's beautiful. But it just heightens an awareness that the planet needs protection, and human life needs protection, and we are the ones who have to protect it," Glover says.
You can learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew program which facilitated this launch at nasa.gov/commercialcrew.