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NASA Test Piloting Legends Reunite

Nils Larson, X59 pilot and Astronaut Victor Glover walking side-by-side.
Former flight test instructor and current NASA test pilot Nils Larson reunited with former student and current astronaut Victor Glover on Oct. 21 during an open house at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
NASA / Dave Bowman

Nils Larson, aerospace engineer and test pilot for NASA’s X-59 aircraft, met up with his former student, Artemis II astronaut Victor Glover, on Saturday, Oct. 21 during an open house held at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The pilots originally met more than two decades ago when Larson was an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Larson trained students – including Glover – using the T-38 aircraft.  

“I always knew Victor would go far. It’s cool to think that far means the Moon,” said Larson, whose current test piloting work is critical to NASA’s Quesst mission. “I was excited to see him picked up as an astronaut, then get to fly to the International Space Station, and now he gets to go to the Moon as part of Artemis II. The sky’s not the limit anymore!” 

Nearly 40,000 people attended the NASA Langley open house. Larson and Glover reunited at Langley’s hangar where other NASA legends, such as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Alan Shepard, trained on its historic Rendezvous Docking Simulator. The simulator remains a permanent fixture at the hangar.