Profiles of Inspiration4: Sian Proctor to fulfil her dream to fly into space
Having won an entrepreneurship competition earlier this year, Sian Proctor is set to become the first black female pilot of a spacecraft when she flies into space on the Inspiration4 mission.
This is the third of four stories profiling the Inspiration4 crew, which is expected to launch in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as early as 8 p.m. EDT Sept. 15 (midnight UTC Sept. 16), 2021. This flight is being used to raise $200 million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
The Inspiration4 mission consists of four non-professional astronauts — Jared Isaacman, a self-starter who dreamed of flying and going to space his entire life; Hayley Arceneaux, a childhood cancer survivor and now a St. Jude physician assistant; Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, explorer and science communication specialist; and Chris Sembroski, an Iraq war veteran and current Lockheed Martin engineer.
When they launch, Proctor will be the pilot of the three-day mission into Earth orbit. She represents the mission pillar of prosperity.
Proctor was the winner of the Shift4 Shop competition, which saw her set up an online art store “My Space2Inspire.”
After the four-person crew all met together in March, their first major training task was to perform a team-building activity — climbing 10,000 feet (3,100 meters) to Camp Muir on Mount Rainier in the state of Washington where they stayed for three days and two nights.
Throughout the last several months, Proctor on the other Inspiration4 crew members performed a variety of training exercises, including centrifuge training, exposure to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide environments, Dragon familiarization and much more.
When she flies into space, she’ll only be the fourth African American woman to travel into orbit and the first to pilot a spacecraft.
Proctor was born on Guam in the Western Pacific. The U.S. island territory is where she grew up playing in the woods, building forts and enjoying nature, as her scientist father worked for NASA, tracking flights for the Apollo program.
Proctor has spent more than two decades as a professor of geology, teaching sustainability and planetary science for a community college in Arizona. She also appears in a number of educational and scientific programs on the Discovery Channel, PBS and others.
Proctor is also a Major in the Civil Air Patrol as an aerospace education officer for its Arizona wing. She has also written a cookbook called “Meals for Mars,” from her study of food for astronauts charged with long-term missions off Earth.
It was the year 2009 when Proctor made the first cut out of 3,500 applicants through the NASA astronaut selection process with hopes to become one of nine for the final selection. However, she wasn’t selected. A dozen years later, she would get her chance to go to space as a part of Inspiration4.
“As we push the boundaries of what humans are capable to do in this extreme, hostile environment, it makes us more efficient, because space is all about efficiency in energy, in water, in food and all of the systems, because if you’re not efficient, then you can die in space, ” Proctor said in an interview for St. Jude regarding the potential benefits of space exploration.
This is the third of four stories profiling the Inspiration4 crew. Check back tomorrow the story about 42-year-old Chris Sembroski, an Iraq war veteran and current Lockheed Martin engineer who represents the space mission’s pillar of generosity.
Video courtesy of Sian Proctor
Video courtesy of Orbital Velocity
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.