SoCal astronaut on what it's like to be part of a new age of space exploration (photos)

Slideshow: 2013 NASA Astronaut Candidate Victor Glover
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It’s been two years since NASA ended its 30-year space shuttle program. The space agency now has a new group of astronauts that could push the boundaries of space exploration.

The group of eight will potentially travel to new destinations in the solar system. One of those astronauts is Victor Glover of Pomona. He spoke with KPCC.

What went through your mind when you found out you were selected?

Glover said that, when he received the news, he couldn’t believe it.

“I pinched myself I can’t even count how many times to make sure that it wasn’t a dream, and when I realized it was actually happening, I could not wait to call and tell my wife.”  

What inspired you to become an astronaut?

Witnessing a shuttle launch and meeting astronauts as an adult inspired Glover to become one himself.

“As a child, seeing the space shuttle launch, I was really enamored and wanted to fly a space shuttle," said Glover. "That led to a professional curiosity after I became a test pilot in the Navy.”

What’s the training process like?

Training to become a basic qualified astronaut takes two years, Glover said.

“There’s going to be Russian language training, traveling the country, getting familiar with the NASA missions as well as traveling to meet our international space partners, which I’m really looking forward to.”

Are you disappointed you won't be able to take part in the space shuttle missions?

Glover said he shed some tears when he found out the space shuttle missions were ending.

“It made me do some soul searching about why I wanted to fly the space shuttle and I realized it was bigger than just that one vehicle. I realized it was about going into space and furthering the mission.”

So what kind of a mission will you and your colleagues potentially take part in? Where would you go?

Missions to an asteroid and Mars may be in the team’s future.

“Any ride to space I will take. I will take a ride however they want to send me there," said Glover. 

“I’m looking forward to getting out there, getting the training underway, and going from being the sponge and absorbing to actually contributing and being part of the team.”

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