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Inspiration4’s Dr Sian Proctor will be the first black female to pilot a spacecraft

In just a few hours, four individuals will blast off into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 in the first all-civilian space mission, but one of the crew members will go down in history as the first black female pilot of a spacecraft.

Dr Sian Proctor, 51, will board the Dragon capsule prior to an 8pm ET lift off and spend three days circling Earth along with Jared Isaacman, 38, Hayley Arceneaux, 29, and Chris Sembroski, 41.

Proctor will also be the fourth black women in space, which she said during an interview means she has an ‘opportunity to not only accomplish my dream, but also inspire the next generation of women of color.’

  1. Along with being an astronaut, Proctor is also a geology professor at the Maricopa Community College in Arizona and has a passion for Afrofuturism space art – she plans on taking some pieces with her to space.

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Siena Proctor will go down in history as the first black female pilot of a spacecraft

Proctor was announced as an Inspiration4 crew member in March after she was selected as the top entrant of an independently judged online business competition that attracted approximately 200 entries.

The competition was conducted by the eCommerce platform Shift4Shop, which is own by Isaacman who purchased the entire SpaceX flight.

The idea of Inspiratin4, first announced in February, is to raise $200 million for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Now the day has finally come for the crew to take off and Proctor is reflecting on the moment by acknowledging what it means to her.

Dr Sian Proctor, 51, (second from left) will board the Dragon capsule prior to an 8pm ET lift off and spend three days circling Earth along with Jared Isaacman, (second from right) 38, Hayley Arceneaux, 29, (right) and Chris Sembroski, 41 (left)

Dr Sian Proctor, 51, (second from left) will board the Dragon capsule prior to an 8pm ET lift off and spend three days circling Earth along with Jared Isaacman, (second from right) 38, Hayley Arceneaux, 29, (right) and Chris Sembroski, 41 (left)

‘I am the mission pilot and it’s really special for me to hold that title because I’m going to be the first black female pilot of a spacecraft,’ she said in an interview.

‘Space to inspire has always been my motto as a teacher.

‘When I was talking to my students, the thing about it was when I said space to inspire, they’re thinking outer space, but really it is this space, your space.’

‘We all have this unique space that we carry with us everywhere we go and getting to know what it is that makes us passionate and how to share our unique gifts with the world is so important.

‘I have memories of the Challenger and Christa McAuliffe and what that means to me [is] her legacy as being the first teacher in space to me being now this educator going to space.’

Proctor will also be the fourth black women in space, which she said during an interview means she has an 'opportunity to not only accomplish my dream, but also inspire the next generation of women of color.'

Proctor will also be the fourth black women in space, which she said during an interview means she has an ‘opportunity to not only accomplish my dream, but also inspire the next generation of women of color.’

The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launching on January 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members on board – but their memory still lives on today as Proctor is honoring one of the fallen astronauts.

In 2009, Proctor went through the astronaut selection process, competing against more than 3,500 applicants, and was chosen as one of 47 finalists.

However, she was not selected as a candidate for the astronaut group.

Undaunted, Proctor became an analog astronaut, contributing to the advancement of human spaceflight, but here on Earth. 

She also participated in a four-month NASA Mars simulation in Hawaii and projects in Chile and Alaska.

Along with being an astronaut, Proctor is also a geology professor at the Maricopa Community College in Arizona and has a passion for Afrofuturism space art – she plans on taking some pieces with her to space

Along with being an astronaut, Proctor is also a geology professor at the Maricopa Community College in Arizona and has a passion for Afrofuturism space art – she plans on taking some pieces with her to space

‘I’ve been really fortunate to live in multiple moon and Mars simulations, which I believe has just helped prepare me even more for the mission ahead,’ she told Arizona State News.

And then in March, Proctor got the call she has been waiting for.

‘I couldn’t believe it,’ she said. ‘I think it was analogous to Harry Potter finding out he’s a wizard. Like, I can’t be a wizard. It’s like, ‘Ah, I’m going to be an astronaut!’ OK. That’s amazing. And then to be offered the pilot seat — that just added something extraordinary … And so now I’m in the position where I’m going to be the first black female pilot of the spacecraft ever.’

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