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Meet Sian Proctor, The First Black Woman To Pilot Spacecraft

Meet Sian Proctor The First Black Woman To Pilot Spacecraft
20210628 Sian Proctor


Sian Hayley Proctor is a geology professor, motivational speaker, pilot, artist, author, and spaceflight participant best known for her September 2021 flight on the civilian-funded Inspiration 4 Space Mission. The flight was sponsored by Jared Isaacman, a technology billionaire in the United States, to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Proctor was born in Hagatna, Guam, on March 28, 1970, parents Gloria Delores and Edward Langley Proctor Jr. Her father was a self-taught scientist who worked for NASA and fostered in his daughter a love of exploration and science from a young age. Because of her father’s business, Proctor spent her childhood in Minnesota, then Florida, and finally New York, where she graduated from Fairport High School in 1988.

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Proctor continued her education at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, where she received a BS in Environmental Science in 1992. She worked as a video editor for Rochester, New York station 8, WROC, for two years after graduating. She later transferred to Arizona State University to pursue graduate studies in geology. While attending Arizona State University, Proctor also worked as an Earth Science instructor and ecology project counselor. She earned her master’s degree in geology in 1998 and her doctorate in science education in 2006.

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At the age of 36, Dr. Proctor acquired her pilot’s license. During training, her peers dubbed her a modern-day Renaissance Woman and assigned her the call sign “Leo.” Dr. Proctor also worked as a professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, for 21 years. She has instructed students in geology, sustainability, and planetary science. Dr. Proctor has made numerous television appearances on the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, and in an episode of Stephen Hawking’s Genius.

Dr. Proctor had been an analog astronaut for several years, taking part in a variety of research projects such as crew cohesion, exercise, and nutritional studies. Dr. Proctor was a finalist in the NASA Astronaut Selection Process in 2009, but she did not make the final cut. She has taken part in four analog missions, which involve living for months in a simulated outer space environment.

She lived in the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) for four months in 2013, one month in Barrow, Alaska in 2014, San Pedro, Chile in 2016, and three weeks on the Bering Sea in 2017. Dr. Proctor filmed the show Meals for Mars during her 2013 mission and later wrote a cookbook with the same name.

Dr. Proctor was chosen to pilot the privately sponsored all-civilian Inspiration4 spaceflight mission in 2021, making her the first African American spacecraft pilot and the first African American civilian astronaut. Crew Dragon Resilience launched from Florida Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on September 16 and returned on September 18.

Dr. Proctor is also a Civil Air Patrol Major and an Arizona Wing Aerospace Education Officer. In 2019, she made her major film debut in Emulator. On December 31, 2014, she married Steven Borth, and the couple now lives in Arizona. As an international motivational speaker, Dr. Proctor continues to inspire others to pursue careers in STEM.


Written by How Africa News

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