Sian Proctor

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Sian Hayley Proctor
Dr. Sian Proctor at Launch Complex 39A.jpg
Proctor in 2021
Born (1970-03-28) March 28, 1970 (age 52)[1]
OccupationGeology professor, and science communicator
Known for
Academic background
ThesisCognitive process strategies and performance on a contour map memory test (2006)
Doctoral advisorSarah K. Brem
Academic work
DisciplineGeology and Science education
InstitutionsSouth Mountain Community College[2]
Space career
Commercial Astronaut
Crew Dragon Pilot US - FAA Astronaut Wings version 2.png
Time in space
2d 23h 3m
Mission insignia
Inspiration4 icon

Sian Hayley "Leo" Proctor (born March 28, 1970) is a commercial astronaut, American geology professor, and science communicator. On September 15, 2021, she was launched into Earth's orbit as the pilot of the Crew Dragon space capsule. This mission was the Inspiration4 private orbital spaceflight.[3] As the pilot on this mission, Proctor became the first African American woman to pilot a spacecraft.[4] She was also the education outreach officer for the first Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission.[5] Proctor is a geology professor at South Mountain Community College in Arizona.[2][6] She is also a Major in the Civil Air Patrol where she serves as the aerospace education officer for its Arizona Wing.[7][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Proctor was born in Hagåtña, Guam on March 28, 1970,[8] to a Sperry Univac engineer who was working for NASA at the Guam Remote Ground Terminal during the Apollo era. After the Moon landings, Proctor's family moved to Minnesota and later to various Northeastern states while her father changed jobs.[9] Her family moved to Fairport, New York, when she was 14 where she later graduated from Fairport High School.[10] Proctor studied at Arizona State University, where she received an MS degree in Geology in 1998 and later a PhD in Science education in 2006.[11]

Space career[edit]

2009 NASA Astronaut Selection[edit]

Proctor was a finalist for the 2009 NASA Astronaut Selection Process. She competed against over 3,500 applicants and was chosen as one of 47 finalists. During the final round, Proctor was not one of the nine astronaut candidates selected for the 2009 NASA Astronaut Group.[12] She is an international speaker[13] and has given several TEDx talks.[14]

Inspiration4 commercial astronaut[edit]

Proctor was selected as the pilot of the Crew Dragon mission Inspiration4,[15] which launched on September 15 2021.[16] She was joined by Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, and Chris Sembroski, for the first all-civilian human spaceflight mission.[17] Proctor was selected for the "Prosperity" seat, given to the winner of an entrepreneur competition.[18][19]

Proctor received the call sign "Leo" during flight training.[20] She is featured on the cover of a Time magazine double issue with the rest of the crew of Inspiration4 in August 2021.[21]

Science education outreach[edit]

HI-SEAS (2013)[edit]

Proctor was the education outreach officer for the NASA-funded Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission. The purpose of the mission was to investigate food strategies for long duration spaceflight and missions to the Moon or Mars. During the four-month simulation, Proctor was hired by Discover Magazine as the photographer for Kate Greene's article Simulating Mars on Earth.[22] She also filmed the Meals for Mars YouTube series while in the Mars simulation.[23]

PolarTREC (2014)[edit]

Proctor was selected as 2014 PolarTREC teacher. PolarTREC is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program that connects teachers with scientists conducting research in the arctic and Antarctic regions. Proctor spent a month in Barrow, Alaska learning Historical Ecology for Risk Management and investigating the impact of climate change on the coastline and community.[24]

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program (ACEAP) (2016)[edit]

Proctor was selected as a 2016 ACEAP Ambassador. The ACEAP is a National Science Foundation (NSF) program that sends K–16 formal and informal astronomy educators to US astronomy facilities in Chile.[25] During the summer of 2016, she joined eight other ambassadors as they visited Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), Gemini South Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array (ALMA). Proctor returned to San Pedro, Chile in 2017 to engage in STEM education outreach activities with the local high school and surrounding community.

NOAA Teacher At Sea (2017)[edit]

Proctor was selected to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Teacher At Sea program in 2017. The program was started in 1990 and provides teachers with research experience working at sea.[26] For three weeks she conducted pollock research in Bering Sea on the fisheries vessel the Oscar Dyson and blogged about her experience for NOAA.[27]

Television appearances[edit]

Proctor has made a number of television appearances. She appears in Season 2 of the The Colony which consists of 10 episodes and was shot on location in New Orleans.[28][29] In 2016, Proctor appears in Episode 2: Are We Alone of Genius by Stephen Hawking[30] Since 2017, she has appeared as the science demonstration expert on the Science Channel show Strange Evidence.[31]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Certificate of Birth". Guam Memorial Hospital.
  2. ^ a b "2020-2021 Course Catalog" (PDF). South Mountain Community College. p. 451.
  3. ^ Davenport, Christian (September 15, 2021). "They 'could be our neighbors,' and they're going to space. SpaceX gets ready to fly the Inspiration4 crew". Washington Post. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  4. ^ Chang, Kenneth (September 16, 2021). "Sian Proctor is the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Greene, Kate (May 10, 2013). "What the First Martian Settlers Will Eat (Maybe) - Field Notes". Discover. Archived from the original on July 11, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Thacker, Dawn (February 7, 2012). "Profiles in Strengths: Sian Proctor, Ph.D." South Mountain Community College.
  7. ^ "Sky Harbor Squadron's Maj. (Dr.) Sian Proctor Heading to Space". Civil Air Patrol Arizona Wing.
  8. ^ Proctor, Sian [@drsianproctor] (March 26, 2020). "I'm #almost50 & reflecting on my life" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Cornelius, Keridwen (December 1, 2018). "Curiosity Rover". Phoenix Magazine.
  10. ^ "Fairport grad selected for first all-civilian space flight". WHEC-TV. March 30, 2021.
  11. ^ Proctor, Sian Hayley (2006). Cognitive process strategies and performance on a contour map memory test (Ph.D. thesis). Arizona State University. OCLC 759870195. ProQuest 305357112.
  12. ^ "Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on January 11, 2009 · Page 21". Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Dr. Sian "Leo" Proctor – Explorer | Astronaut| GeoScientist | Science Communicator". Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  14. ^ Proctor, Sian (October 2018), Eat Like a Martian, retrieved January 25, 2022
  15. ^ BARDHAN, ASHLEY; BROWN, MIKE (September 3, 2021). "INSPIRATION4: WHY IT'S GOING TO FLY HIGHER THAN THE ISS". Archived from the original on September 17, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  16. ^ Kan, Michael (September 16, 2021). "Inspiration 4 Successfully Blasts Off for the First All-Civilian Orbital Space Flight". PC Mag. Retrieved September 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Amy Thompson (October 17, 2021). "Inspiration4 astronaut Sian Proctor reflects on historic SpaceX spaceflight experience". Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  18. ^ Chang, Kenneth (February 1, 2021). "To Get on This SpaceX Flight, You Don't Have to Be Rich, Just Lucky". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  19. ^ Fairport grad Sian Proctor chosen for historic SpaceX mission
  20. ^ Thompson, Amy (September 15, 2021). "Inspiration4's call signs: The crew of SpaceX's all-civilian mission have special nicknames". Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  21. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey (August 23, 2021). "Inside Inspiration 4". Time. Time. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  22. ^ "Simulating Mars on Earth |". Discover Magazine. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  23. ^ "Meals For Mars - YouTube". Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  24. ^ Proctor, Sian (February 5, 2014). "Sian Proctor". PolarTREC. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  25. ^ "Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program - National Radio Astronomy Observatory". National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  26. ^ "NOAA Teacher at Sea Program Favorited Blog posts, Images, and Lesson Plans". Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  27. ^ sproctor2017. "sproctor2017". NOAA Teacher at Sea Blog. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  28. ^ "Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on September 26, 2010 · Page 39". Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  29. ^ "The Colony | Watch Full Episodes & More! - Discovery". Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  30. ^ "Episode 2 | Episodes | Genius by Stephen Hawking". Episode 2 | Episodes | Genius by Stephen Hawking. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  31. ^ "Strange Evidence". Science Channel. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  32. ^ "Order of Exercises". University of Massachusetts Lowell. May 14, 2022.

External links[edit]