TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A 51-year-old college professor from Tempe is headed into space.
Sian Proctor has her Ph.D., pilot's license and teaches geoscience at South Mountain Community College. But the artist and poet can soon add "space explorer" to her resumé. She'll join the world's first-ever all-civilian mission to space.
"It was very emotional when I found out," said Proctor. "I kind of reference it to Harry Potter when he finds out he's a wizard, and he's like, 'Wait, what? I can't be a wizard. You picked me?'"
Her SpaceX mission is called Inspiration 4. Proctor embodies that very name. "It's taken me 51 years to get to this point, but what's great about it is not just the fact that it has arrived, but I never gave up," said Proctor.
Her dad worked for a NASA contractor during the Apollo mission, so a passion for space runs through her blood. "I applied for the 2009 NASA Selection Process, and I got down to the yes, no phone call," said Proctor. "It was a no phone call, but it really rekindled my love for human space flight. I ended up becoming an analog astronaut, living in moon and mars simulations."
When SpaceX announced a chance to orbit space for three days, Proctor applied to be part of the four-person flight with a mission to raise money for childhood cancer research. "I wrote a poem about why they should pick me and why they should send an artist and a poet to space," said Proctor.
Since SpaceX announced Proctor as a winner last month, she's gone through rigorous training to prepare for the fall flight. But no matter what hard work comes before the trip, Proctor feels fearless. "My only fear was that this moment was never going to come or happen for me," said Proctor.