SpaceX launched the world’s first all-civilian crew to orbit Earth for three days aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft in September. The Inspiration4 mission was funded by Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman, who invited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Physician Assistant Hayley Arceneaux, Geoscience Professor Dr. Sian Proctor, and Air Force Veteran Lockheed Martin Engineer Chris Sembroski, on the once-in-a-lifetime space adventure. The civilian crew trained for only six months and traveled to an altitude of 585-kilometers, which is higher than the International Space Station. They lifted off on September 15, atop a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex-39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
I cried when I got my wings! 😭😭😭 https://t.co/ewdWIbUL6F— Dr. Sian “Leo” Proctor (@DrSianProctor) October 2, 2021
The Inspiration4 crew’s purpose is to use their newfound fame to raise awareness and fundraise for St. Jude. The hospital provides free of charge medical treatment to children who are fighting life-threatening illnesses. When the Inspiration4 crew returned from space on September 18, they surpassed their fundraising goal of $200 million for the children’s hospital.
For Inspiration4 Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor the historic spaceflight was a fulfillment of her life-long dream to become an astronaut. She is a four-time analog astronaut who became a NASA astronaut candidate finalist twice and faced rejection. Now, at 51-years-old she finally traveled to space and made history as the first Black woman to serve as a spacecraft pilot and the fourth to travel to outer space. Dr. Proctor told reporters that the journey aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience was the best way imaginable of reaching space. She looks forward to inspiring with her experience. “[…] Talking to girls of color, women of color of my experience and even older women, who sometimes think the best part of your life has passed you by as you've gotten older — [shows] you still have lot to learn, a lot to explore. A lot to do,” she said in a television interview with NBC upon returning to Earth.
Dragons flying high— Dr. Sian “Leo” Proctor (@DrSianProctor) October 2, 2021
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
And I'm feeling good
I'm feeling good -Nina Simone
Thanks @SpaceX! Officially a Dragon Pilot! @inspiration4x https://t.co/ns39sO0hhz pic.twitter.com/jfwT8IHMw0
The Inspiration4 crew shared their life story and journey to space in a Netflix documentary series called – Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space.In the series, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s wife Michelle Obama congratulated Dr. Proctor with a personal phone call ahead of the historic spaceflight. “Good afternoon, this is Michelle Obama calling for Dr. Proctor and the Inspiration4 crew. Am I on the right line?” she says in a scene from the finale of the Netflix series. “You are on the right line! Hi, Mrs. Obama,” she replied, with a beautiful smile, “This is Sian Proctor.”
“Oh my goodness, it's so good to hear your voice,” says the former First Lady. "[…] I can't tell you how much it means to be able to join you guys on this call the day before this exciting mission,” Ms. Obama says. “I can't imagine what's going through your minds.”
A huge highlight of the @inspiration4x mission for me was getting to thank @MichelleObama for being my shero and inspiring me to become my true authentic self and to use my #Space2inspire those within my reach and beyond! 😊👩🏾🚀🚀🌏🐉 https://t.co/uMVef4aGpZ— Dr. Sian “Leo” Proctor (@DrSianProctor) October 1, 2021
“Well, I have my entire crew here right now with me but I'm thinking about how I'm talking to you right now — and how amazing that is!” Proctor replies. “You are making history! And I just want to thank all of you for your courage and your curiosity and your bravery. You have everything you need. You have each other. You guys are representing what it means to be America. It is all of us — showing courage, taking risks on behalf of everyone else. And you all are doing just that,” Ms. Obama tells her. “I'm grateful to you all, I'm proud of you all, I wish you the very best. I want you to be safe, and know that we'll be here praying for you all. So, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to spend this time with you,” she adds. Dr. Proctor said it was a “very nice conversation that will stay with me for the rest of my life.” You can watch the video clip of their phone call in the video below, courtesy of Netflix.
VIDEO: Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space Video Clip
Featured Image Source: Inspiration4 Dr. Sian Proctor via Twitter