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NASA honors Black History Month with live webcasts

NASA has a lineup of discussions ready to discuss the impact of Black History Month in space exploration.

From highlighting the African Americans (opens in new tab) who have flown in space, to the Black people who work at senior levels (opens in new tab) of the agency today, NASA's Black history discussions will include webcasts and other live events to continue the conversation.

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NASA is also working to honor the contributions of Black people poorly recognized in past decades, such as the "Hidden Figures" engineers and scientists who contributed to the early space programs of the agency.

There are several events listed on the NASA TV website (opens in new tab) , which will run live on NASA TV, the NASA app and at Space.com. The schedule so far includes the following:

  • Feb. 4, 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) – Black History Month Virtual Event: Health and Wellness 
  • Feb. 9, 12 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) – Black History Month Virtual Event: Mental Health and Suicide Awareness
  • Feb. 16, 12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT) – Black History Month Virtual Event: Nutritional Health 
  • Feb. 23, 12 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) – Black History Month Virtual Event: Physical Health

(Editor's note: In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis; call 1-800-273-8255. Alternatively, you can text the Crisis Text Line; text "HELLO" to 741741.)

NASA astronaut Victor Glover tests out the European Space Agency's Time experiment in this image, snapped aboard the International Space Station where Glover is currently staying. The experiment uses virtual reality technology to see how being in space changes an astronaut's perception of time.

NASA astronaut Victor Glover tests out the European Space Agency's Time experiment in this image, snapped aboard the International Space Station where Glover is currently staying. The experiment uses virtual reality technology to see how being in space changes an astronaut's perception of time.  (Image credit: NASA)

In latter years, NASA has also tried to include more discussions about slavery, systemic racism and their impact on early agency history. For example, NASA also honors Juneteenth every year.

In June 2020, former NASA administrator Charles Bolden (the agency's only Black administrator to date) told Space.com that more representation efforts are needed at the agency. "We don't have enough representation in the astronaut office, by women and minorities," Bolden, a former astronaut himself, said. 

Bolden also criticized the fact that at the time of his discussion, no African-American crewmember had flown on the International Space Station, which has been accepting long-duration crews since 2000, except for short space shuttle visits. In November 2020, astronaut Victor Glover launched on a SpaceX Crew Dragon and became the first Black crewmember of an ISS expedition crew.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.