One Toronto boy got to make the long-distance call of a lifetime this week when he spoke to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
Yaphet Yoseph, 8, was positively beaming Wednesday as he got to speak with astronaut Victor Glover, who is currently floating in orbit.
The call was organized by and included members of Glover’s alma mater, California Polytechnic State University, and the National Society of Black Engineers. When they found out about Yoseph’s keen interest in space travel, they wanted him to be a part of it.
“My dream is to go to outer space, and be the first African Canadian,” Yoseph said.
And he doesn’t plan to go alone.
“He always tells me, ‘you’re going to come with me to space,'” said his mom, Hezbawit Lijam.
WATCH | Toronto boy asks astronaut for advice:
She said his interest in space started when he was in senior kindergarten, and has only grown since then. His attention was really ignited when he learned about fellow Canadian Chris Hadfield.
“I got one of his books, I started reading it, and it was so much fun, and that inspired me to be an astronaut,” Yoseph said.
His mom even got him his own NASA space suit.
“Of course the space suit, they just come only with the American flag, like this one, but I added the Canadian flag for him, because he is representing Canada,” she said.
Hopes first space flight ‘at least’ goes to ISS
And he was wearing that suit with a smile when he asked Glover a question Wednesday.
“How does it feel to be on the first operational flight of the first spacecraft that uses a reusable liquid fuel abort system? And what advice would you give to children like me?” he asked.
“Yaphet, thank you for that question, thank you for your voice. It is so inspiring to hear young people’s voices up here,” Glover responded.
The astronaut then went on to tell Yoseph that the abort system is amazing and helps keep him safe, before passing on some wisdom to the young admirer — like never stopping in the face of challenges, and being a lifelong learner.
“Be good to the people around you, and they’ll pay that back to you,” Glover said.
It’s clear that even though Yoseph is only a kid, he has big plans.
“For my first space flight I’m hoping to at least go to the ISS,” he said.
“For my second I’m hoping to go to the moon, and for my third I’m hoping to go to Mars.”
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.