Donate Now

Dr. Sian Proctor Makes History as First Black Woman to Pilot a Spacecraft

Dr. Sian Proctor Photo Credit SpaceX
For Elon Musk and the SpaceX team, Wednesday's successful launch of its first rocket into orbit — manned by four people who aren't professional astronauts — was just the next step in delivering on their promise of opening up space travel to the common man.  

For geoscientist Sian Proctor, however, it was a chance to make a different kind of history.

"There have been three Black female astronauts that have made it to space, and knowing that I'm going to be the fourth means that I have this opportunity to not only accomplish my dream, but also inspire the next generation of women of color and girls of color and really get them to think about reaching for the stars and what that means," Proctor said at a press conference Tuesday.

Wednesday, the 51-year-old South Mountain Community College professor became the first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot, as the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission launched successfully from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:02 p.m. CDT.

The crew will enjoy zero gravity and panoramic views in their capsule as it orbits Earth at around 17,500 miles per hour — circling the planet once every 90 minutes —before splashing down off the coast of Florida Saturday. 

Proctor, who is also the oldest Black woman to reach space, has already decided how she plans to use her time.

"I'm gonna sit in our cupola and write poetry as I look back at our amazing planet," Proctor — who brought some of her students’ art, as well as materials to create her own poetry and art on the mission —  said. 

The journey is the final step in a dream that began for Proctor as a child. Her father, Edward Langley Proctor Jr., worked for NASA and tracked Apollo program flights.

Having caught the space bug early, Proctor endeavored to reach it on her own, eventually becoming a finalist in NASA's 2009 astronaut candidate program. While she didn't make the final cut, she is a licensed pilot and has completed four astronaut training simulations sponsored by NASA, including a four-month mission to Mars.

She was chosen through an online business contest conducted by Shift4 Payments as part of the Inspiration4 crew selection.  Proctor competed against entrepreneurs across the country to bring in donations for St. Jude, before being chosen to fly on the mission. St. Jude is the charitable beneficiary of Inspiration4. Its goal is to raise $200 million for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Read more about the all-civilian mission to space and how it came to be here.

No comments

2017 Paid in Full Entertainment, Inc.. Powered by Blogger.