U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris made a cosmic call to the International Space Station last week to celebrate the milestone spaceflight of NASA astronaut Victor Glover in orbit.
The call, which NASA and the White House released on YouTube Saturday (Feb. 27), came amid Black History Month, as Glover is midway through a six-month flight to the space station. He is the first Black astronaut to fly a long-duration mission to the station.
"Victor, it is so great to see you," an excited Harris said in the 3-minute video. "The history-making you are doing, we are so proud of you."
Glover, 44, launched to the space station in November alongside 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 making his first spaceflight 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 he thought about his own achievement as the first African-American astronaut to fly a long-duration mission to the space station. The astronaut said his flight was only possible because of the astronauts and cosmonauts who came before him to bring humanity to its current point in space exploration.
On April 12, the world will mark 60 years of human spaceflight. The first person to fly in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, launched on that day in 1961.
"I really appreciate that legacy and I try to do my best to honor it," Glover said. "I think about right now, it is a time that we should celebrate and be appreciative of the current state of human spaceflight."
"But really what I'm most excited about is the future of human spaceflight and the fact that this is going to be the future, this is what we're going to do for the foreseeable future," Glover added. "So yeah, that was a first. but it won't be the only time that that's happened."
"My mother would say to me, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last,'" she said.
Harris asked Glover about his recent spacewalks on Jan. 27 and Feb. 1 (he took another one today, Feb. 28) to upgrade the International Space Station, as well as how his view of Earth from space allows a glimpse at the challenges of our planet.
"It is just a spectacular thing to see from here, and it's very obvious to see from up here how thin our atmosphere is, just how special it is for there to be human life on this planet," Glover said of the view. "And so, it makes me want to do all that I can to protect that."
"You are inspiring us and you are reminding us of what is possible when we dream big and when we think big," Harris said.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.