LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Victor Glover, a Southern California native and the first Black astronaut to work a long-duration mission on the International Space Station, says he’s still working on getting his bearings in space.

Glover, 44, grew up in Pomona, graduated from Ontario High School and attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He was a commander in the U.S. Navy and a test pilot before he joined the astronaut corps, and has logged 3,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft.

But even with all that time in the air, Glover says the G-force of being launched into space aboard SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule was like nothing he ever experienced before.

“I was very slow,” Glover said in an interview Thursday. “My brain is constantly trying to figure out where up is and, I don’t know if its because I’m a new guy, they made me sleep in the ceiling. So every time I pop my head out, the entire space station is upside down. So I just stay upside down as much as possible, but that, I think, requires extra processing.”

Glover said the view from the space station has been awe inspiring, and reminded him of the responsibility people have to preserve the Earth and its resources.

“To see the Earth, and these beautiful land masses and oceans without lines or words drawn on them, and also to look out at Dragon. It’s beautiful,” he said. “It just heightens an awareness that the planet needs protection, that human life needs protection and we’re the ones who have to protect it.”

And while he works on orienting himself in space, Glover said he hopes the crew’s presence on the space station reminds people to look up, literally and figuratively.

“I really think having something to look up to now, especially as we bring 2020 to a close, it’s just something we all need,” he said.

Glover’s wife and four daughters will be waiting for him when he comes back to Earth at the end of his 6-month mission.

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