Dr. Sian Proctor is one of four crew members on SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission. She’s a geoscientist and science communications specialist who has said that going to space is a dream come true for her. Who are her parents and where was she born? Both of her parents have died, but Proctor said they played a huge role in encouraging her to be the person she is today. Learn all about Proctor’s background here.
On her website, MySpace2Inspire, Proctor wrote about her dad: “If it wasn’t for my father’s NASA memorabilia, his contributions to NASA, and his helping to put the first human on the moon would be lost to history. I really want to continue my father’s legacy of advancing human spaceflight but not as a hidden figure. I want to be the first black female commercial astronaut.”
She shared that her dad died when she 19 and her mother died when she was 48. The isolated nature of COVID-19 helped lead her to becoming more creative and, ultimately, to the Inspiration4 opportunity.
Proctor shared on August 12 that she won the Prosperity seat on Inspiration4 when she “opened up a @Shift4Shop called My Space2inspire and then created a unique poem called #Space2inspire.”
She Was Born on Guam & Considers Herself a NASA Moon Celebration Baby
She later moved to Minnesota.
Proctor said about her birth: “I consider myself a #NASA Moon celebration baby because I was born 8.5 months after Armstrong took those famous first steps.”
Now she’s the fourth African American woman to travel in orbit and the first Black female spacecraft pilot. Inspiration4 will be orbiting the Earth for three days.
Her Dad Worked with the Apollo Moon Mission
Proctor’s parents are Edward Langley Proctor Jr. and Gloria Deloris Proctor, Space Flight Insider reported. While Proctor grew up on Guam, her dad worked for NASA and tracked Apollo program flights, Space Flight Insider reported. He was an engineer and contractor with Sperry UNIVAC, NSTA reported.
Proctor tweeted about her dad’s job in Guam: “In December 1966, my dad became the Senior Computer Engineering Technician for Bendix Corp. He was assigned to Guam & was in charge of tracking operations for the #NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP)& much more! He worked Apollo Missions 7-13 while on Guam.”
Proctor said her dad was a self-taught scientist. In a series of tweets, she shared that he loved learning and was the youngest technician and first Black person hired by Electro Data Corp. His first job was as a radio and television technician. From 1960-1961, he was an “electronic technician calibrating doppler radar navigation air-borne systems.”
She added that in 1962, he was hired by the federal government as an inertial guidance system analyst and worked on the Atlas, Titan, and Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles and rockets.
Her dad died of lung cancer when he was only 48, Proctor shared in a tweet.
She wrote: “My father’s lung cancer was supposedly in remission. The day I left for NYC, my dad wasn’t feeling well so when I went to give him a hug he said no, see you when you get back. He had a severe asthma attack & passed away that night. He was 48. 😢”
Her Parents Met at a New Year’s Eve Party
Proctor tweeted that her parents met at a 1962 New Year’s Eve party in Harlem.
She wrote: “He drove her and her roommate home from the party and asked if she’d make him a cup of coffee. They were married 3.5 months later. He was 23 and she was 29.”
She said they moved to Cocoa Beach in 1965 where he worked for RCA and was later assigned to a missile tracking ship, the USNS H.S. Vandenberg. She tweeted that for the year he was on the Vandenberg, he wrote more than 30 letters to her mom.
In a series of tweets, Proctor revealed more about her family. She said her grandfather had a BA in social science from Youngstown University in 1939.
Her dad, she added, was raised by two strong women: her great grandmother and her Nana. Her great-grandmother, Rev. Elizabeth Powell, was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.
She Said Her Parents Always Supported Her
Her parents always encouraged and supported Proctor and her siblings, she told NSTA. In a series of tweets, she added that her mom used to worry about her because she was so independent as a kid.
She wrote: “I was labeled a tomboy which I learned early meant boys could do fun things that girls shouldn’t do. I loved to fish, play sports, & most of all I loved building airplanes and dreaming of being a fighter pilot.”
She added that her dad supported her in all of her interests. “He never told me I couldn’t do it,” she said.
She said she ultimately picked her major when they were in the car and her mom suggested it while flipping through a college catalog. She wrote in a series of tweets:
Everything changed in HS. I got glasses = no military aviator & my dad got lung cancer senior year. I didn’t run track that year & quit the civil air patrol. I didn’t visit schools for college & my dad insisted I apply & go to Edinboro U where my brother was. I was a 😡teenager. I remember my parents driving me to Edinboro fall 1988. I was in the backseat, arms crossed & defiant. My mother was flipping through the course catelog and said, ‘you should major in this, Environmental Science.’ I said fine. That’s how I picked my major. So why was I so mad…
If you are the younger sibling then you can relate to this. My brother Chris was the typical big brother growing up. In other words – he was mean and use to pick on me. I thought college was my escape and instead, my parents were sending me off to be with my big brother. WTF!! … Going to college with my brother Chris turned out to be the best thing ever! I remember the day he came to find me. I figured it was going to be the same old BS but instead he said, ‘Let’s go.’ I was like where? Let’s go party! We spent 3.5 yrs together & became super close.
Her Mom Inspired Her Because She Was Fearless
Her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are also gone, she shared.
She wrote on Twitter: “My mom, grandmother, and great grandmother have all passed on and I miss them. I will be taking this photo of them to space with me as a reminder of how lucky I am to have had strong women in my life.”
She said her mom was born outside of Salisbury, Maryland, in 1933. “What I love about my mom is that she was fearless,” she shared in a tweet. “The day after graduating HS she hoped on the bus for NYC (1951). She lived in Harlem & worked at Mount Sinai hospital.”
Her mother would be 88 if she were still alive.