Victor J. Glover, Jr.
Paolo Verzone—Gallerie d’Italia/Intesa Sanpaolo/VU for TIME

Victor Glover was standing in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in 2013, serving as a legislative aide to Senator John McCain, when his phone rang with an entirely different kind of job offer. It was NASA calling to ask Glover if he wanted to join the incoming class of rookie astronauts. The former fighter pilot, who saw action in the Iraq War and had applied to the space agency months before, accepted without hesitation. The next morning, he received an email from NASA with details about his new position. The subject line was simply “It wasn’t a dream.” Glover went on to fly aboard the International Space Station from November 2020 to May 2021. In April 2023, NASA tapped him for another job that might well have felt like a dream, naming him to the four-person crew of Artemis II, which will fly around the far side of the moon late next year. Glover will be the first person of color to make a lunar journey, and the significance of that is not lost on him. “Inclusion has become one of NASA’s core values,” he says. “My feeling is like that of Vice President Harris, when she’s asked about being the first woman in her role. She says, ‘Firsts are great, but you’ve got to make sure you’re not the last.’”

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