“What do astronauts look like?” her Instagram bio reads. With a goal of touring the universe, Alcindor has started a GoFundMe in an effort to get help paying for the astronaut training she will need ahead of being launched to infinity and beyond.
“My goal is to show people that they truly are limitless,” she told Washington Post.
And she wants people to understand that astronauts can look like her: Long braids, long lashes and all.
While people across the world watch billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk take part in the ongoing space race, hopefuls like Alcindor are stuck resorting to more ordinary forms of achieving space flight.
“Being a pilot, it takes a different level of meditation,” Alcindor said of learning to fly a helicopter as part of her training. “My first flight lesson, I almost fainted. I’m Black and I almost turned pink. You feel everything. The plane is so light that you feel the fuel when it’s dissipating.”
Photos on her Instagram page show Alcindor scuba diving, walking around the wilderness in a makeshift astronaut suit, and even showing off her “space fashion.”
Her passion for space travel is clear from one look at her Instagram page.
“An EVA Astronaut space suit has 16 layers,” she captioned one photo wearing an astronaut uniform. “It takes 2 hours to put it on. You have to use stairs to climb inside of it.”
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With a bachelor’s degree in economics and a current contractor position at the Pentagon, Alcindor’s past work with NASA helped set the stage for her interest in touring outer space. After applying to the Space for Humanity’s Citizen Astronaut Program, Alcindor made it to the second round.
“What you thought you were best at might be because you haven’t had the opportunity to explore yourself,” Alcindor said. “I hope someone who’s never picked up the piano will pick it up and someone who’s never flown before will do a discovery flight.”