A Southern California astronaut returned home to speak with and inspire students ahead of his journey to space on NASA’s Artemis II mission.
Victor Glover, a formal Naval aviator and Pomona native, will be piloting the upcoming mission in 2024. He took time away from training on Friday to go back to his roots and speak with students in his hometown.
“We’re just the four people who are the newest members of the team trying to get a rocket and a spacecraft off the pad as soon as we can, safely, to send humans to the moon for the first time since 1972,” Glover explained of the Artemis II mission.
Speaking to students and educators at his alma mater, Ontario High School, Glover shared the story behind his incredible journey to NASA, hoping to inspire future astronauts.
“It’s great to come home,” he said.
The hometown hero spent some time looking back on his childhood and recalling some of the lessons learned along the way.
He wasn’t afraid to admit that growing up, sometimes his grades didn’t always live up to rocket scientist standards, but that didn’t stop him.
“He did pass, but he underperformed and most importantly, he underperformed by his own standard,” said Robin Ikeda, Glover’s former AP biology teacher. “He didn’t learn as much as he wanted to learn.”
Ikeda, who Glover remembers fondly to this day, said she inspired him to attend her AP biology class for a second year as a teacher’s aid, but with a renewed will to master the subject.
“He was energetic, he was curious, had a lot of potential,” Ikeda recalled.
Glover later received a Bachelor’s in Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before moving up the ranks in the Navy. He landed a role at NASA at 37 years old. In 2020, at 44 years old, Glover made his first journey into outer space.
However, he never forgot about where he came from.
“Being in Ontario, this is a really interesting place,” he said. “The Inland Empire. We are right next to some of the most amazing aerospace industries and when I was a student here, I didn’t know that.”
The husband and father of four children is grateful for the support he received growing up but said for students looking to pursue their dreams, nothing is impossible.
“Keep dreaming but also on the way, put data with your dreams,” Glover said. “Collect that data. Learn, grow, mentally, physically and emotionally and be the best version that you can be.”
Being in space, Glover said looking at Earth from the outside only reminds him of everything that is good on our planet.
“I miss the earth, everything you’ve seen — Shakespeare, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, every book you’ve ever read, every author you’ve known, every movie — it’s all down there, all of history,” Glover said.
He said his unique job allows him to love and appreciate everything wonderful about the human race whenever he is so far away from home.
“We’re all homo sapiens, we’re all humans, we’re all earthlings and so, as much as I can share that story and that perspective, I think it’s important for us to find ways to feel together instead of the things that are trying to divide us,” Glover said.
NASA’s Artemis II is scheduled to take off sometime after November 2024. It will be a 10-day journey venturing around the Moon.
“The mission will be to confirm all of the spacecraft’s systems operate as designed with crew aboard in the actual environment of deep space,” according to NASA. “The Artemis II flight test will be NASA’s first mission with crew aboard the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft and will pave the way to land the first woman on the Moon on Artemis III.”