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AZ scientist-educator gets seat on billionaire's private SpaceX flight

Dr. Sian Proctor
Posted at 8:35 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 21:12:18-04

A billionaire's private SpaceX flight has filled its two remaining seats with two longtime space fans, with one of them from the Valley.

The newest passengers are a scientist-educator from Arizona and a Seattle-area data engineer whose college buddy actually won the seat in a lottery but gave him the prize.

According to her website, Dr. Sian Proctor was a professor teaching geology, sustainability, and planetary science at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix for 21 years. She now serves as the Maricopa Community College District's Open Educations Resource Coordinator.

In Proctor's years of teaching, research has already taken her to the North Pole and to sea. She has participated in three NASA-sponsored analog astronaut projects focusing on sustainability in space. In 2009 she was a finalist for NASA’s Space Corps.

The mission to space will not happen until mid-September at the earliest. On Tuesday a SpaceX rocket, the type that will lift the astronauts into space, malfunctioned minutes after takeoff during a test in Texas.

In an interview with the Associated Press Dr. Proctor, who is from Guam originally, said her father worked at the NASA tracking station there during the Apollo moon missions. She told the Associated Press, “Everything I’ve done has brought me to this moment.” Dr. Proctor says she will teach and create art while she circles the earth.

The two were introduced Tuesday as the newest crew members.

They will join tech businessman Jared Isaacman, who's paying for the three-day ride around the globe this fall while also raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

An employee of St. Jude's was previously selected as a passenger.