She missed out on NASA, but SpaceX is sending her into orbit

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 4:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - When SpaceX launches its Inspiration 4 Mission in September, a history-making crew will be aboard the capsule.

It will be the first all-civilian team of astronauts to orbit Earth.

“I’m so grateful every day for this opportunity,” said Dr. Sian Proctor, one of four selected for the mission.

The geoscientist is used to firsts. In 2013, she was in the initial group of analog astronauts who trained at the HI-SEAS habitat on Mauna Loa.

“I was lucky to go back again in January of 2020, with the SENSORIA program, which was the first ever all-female crew. That was a two-week mission,” she said.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule will be in space for three days. The crew members will do experiments while Proctor will be at the controls.

“My job is to make sure the the Dragon capsule stays on course because it flies autonomously,” she said.

The mission is funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman.

Each of the four seats represents a human virtue. Proctor’s is “prosperity.”

“I won the ‘prosperity’ seat because of my art and poetry,” she said.

The Inspiration 4 mission is also a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Proctor said the history-setting flight echoes her message as a teacher.

“It’s this idea of Space2Inspire, using your unique space and talents to inspire those within your reach and beyond,” she said.

She comes from a space family. Her dad worked for NASA.

“I was born eight and a-half months after Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the Moon. I am a celebration baby,” she said.

Proctor has reached for the stars before. In 2009, she was a finalist for NASA’s astronaut program.

“Unfortunately, my call was a ‘no,’ but I’m OK because I’m still going to space,” she said.

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