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SMCC Professor Becomes 1st Black Woman To Pilot A Mission To Space

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 6:20pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 6:22pm

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Just after 5 p.m. Arizona time, a South Mountain Community College professor became the first Black woman ever to pilot a mission to space.

Geoscientist Sian Proctor flew the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission to a 575-kilometer orbit. 

Born in Guam almost nine months after the Apollo 11 mission to a father who worked for the NASA tracking station there, the 51-year-old Proctor was a finalist for NASA's astronaut program in 2009. She seeks to expand justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, or JEDI, in space.

"We are opening up the door so people who normally wouldn't think that space and space exploration is part of their narrative can now believe that it is," she said.

Following the three-day mission, the all-civilian crew's biological data will be analyzed by the team that studied Sen. Mark Kelly and his twin brother, Scott.

Sian Proctor
Charlie Leight/ASU
Pilot and backup commander Sian Proctor will be only the fourth Black woman to travel to space.

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