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Arizona professor selected for space mission says it’s a dream come true

South Mountain Community College professor Dr. Sian Proctor will be part of the first ever all civilian mission to space

PHOENIX — A 21-year community college professor from the Valley is ready to accomplish a lifelong dream. 

"It is something I wanted my entire life," Dr. Sian Proctor said. 

Last week, Dr. Proctor was named as one of the crew members of Inspiration4, the first-ever all civilian crewed mission to space. 

It's been Proctor's dream almost from birth. 

"I was born 8.5 months after Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon. So I like to think of myself as a celebration baby," Dr. Proctor said. 

Proctor's dad, Edward Langley Proctor, was a NASA contractor helping out with the Apollo missions. 

"He instilled this love of exploration in me and my siblings," Dr. Proctor said. 

Edward overcame segregationist policies and never graduating from college to work with some of the brightest people in the world.

RELATED: Arizona professor selected for ground-breaking manned SpaceX mission

"He was good at math," Dr. Proctor said. 

All throughout her childhood, Dr. Proctor said her father supported her, in whatever she may have been interested in. 

"I couldn’t do everything they said, but I could do anything," Dr. Proctor said. 

"I remember I used to crawl out onto the roof of our house and use my binoculars and look up and just dream of getting up there somehow."

However, the wannabe astronaut faced hurdle after hurdle. 

Her original plan was to fly a space shuttle by becoming a pilot. However while in high school her vision deteriorated, making her ineligible. 

While a Freshman in college, her father would die of lung cancer. 

Dr. Proctor pursued a career in science over the next few years. She would travel to 50 countries all over the world. 

A friend would tell her in 2008, that NASA was accepting applications for astronauts. A new opportunity. 

Dr. Proctor applied and she made it through until the final cut when the call didn't go her way. 

"I remember getting the call. I'm sorry we didn’t select you and we hope you apply again. I just remember the tears." Dr. Proctor said. 

She would never get that close again. Despite the setback, Dr. Proctor continued to teach. She became an "analog astronaut," helping NASA and others run simulations here on earth. 

Last year she began to start making space drawings and putting them on postcards along with poems. She would send them to followers of her Patreon. 

Then this February, during the Super Bowl, an advertisement ran asking for civilians to apply for Inspiration 4, the first all-civilian crewed mission to space. 

A friend told Dr. Proctor about the newest chance. She saw one seat was reserved for an entrepreneur. 

Using her new business involving her space artwork and poetry, Dr. Proctor took another chance to get to space. 

Dr. Proctor got the call after being selected by an independently judged online business competition that attracted around 200 applicants. 

In March, she was picked. A mission accomplished. 

"That I never gave up, that I kept the dream alive and now the dream is coming true." Dr. Proctor said. 

As she prepares to head to space, Dr. Proctor will make sure to bring a photo of her parents, who made sure her journey was possible in the first place.

"I'm going to take them with me. I'm going to take this photo I have of me and my parents." Dr. Proctor said. "And I'm going to see it floating in space, and I can’t wait for that moment."

Proctor plans to carry out experiments in space, some relating to artwork. She hopes her journey can inspire others.

The mission hopes to raise $200 million for St. Jude and could take off as soon as September. 


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