CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After beating bone most cancers, Hayley Arceneaux figures rocketing into orbit on SpaceX’s first non-public flight needs to be a chunk of cosmic cake.
St. Jude Kids’s Analysis Hospital introduced Monday that the 29-year-old doctor assistant — a former affected person employed final spring — will launch later this yr alongside a billionaire who’s utilizing his bought spaceflight as a charitable fundraiser.
Arceneaux will grow to be the youngest American in area — beating NASA record-holder Sally Experience by over two years — when she blasts off this fall with entrepreneur Jared Isaacman and two yet-to-be-chosen contest winners.
She’ll even be the primary to launch with a prosthesis. When she was 10, she had surgical procedure at St. Jude to switch her knee and get a titanium rod in her left thigh bone. She nonetheless limps and suffers occasional leg ache, however has been cleared for flight by SpaceX. She’ll function the crew’s medical officer.
“My battle with most cancers actually ready me for area journey,” Arceneaux stated in an interview with The Related Press. “It made me robust, after which additionally I feel it actually taught me to anticipate the sudden and go alongside for the experience.”
She desires to indicate her younger sufferers and different most cancers survivors that “the sky isn’t even the restrict anymore.”
“It’s going to imply a lot to those children to see a survivor in area,” she stated.
Isaacman introduced his area mission Feb. 1, pledging to boost $200 million for St. Jude, half of that his personal contribution. Because the flight’s self-appointed commander, he supplied one of many 4 SpaceX Dragon capsule seats to St. Jude.
With out alerting the employees, St. Jude selected Arceneaux from among the many “scores” of hospital and fundraising staff who had as soon as been sufferers and will signify the subsequent era, stated Rick Shadyac, president of St. Jude’s fundraising group.
Arceneaux was at house in Memphis, Tennessee, when she obtained the “out of the blue” name in January asking if she’d signify St. Jude in area.
Her speedy response: “Sure! Sure! Please!” However first she needed to run it previous her mom in St. Francisville, Louisiana. (Her father died of kidney most cancers in 2018.) Subsequent she reached out to her brother and sister-in-law, each of them aerospace engineers in Huntsville, Alabama, who “reassured me how protected area journey is.”
A lifelong area fan who embraces journey, Arceneaux insists those that know her received’t be stunned. She’s plunged on a bungee swing in New Zealand and ridden camels in Morocco. And he or she loves roller-coasters.
Isaacman, who flies fighter jets for a passion, considers her an ideal match.
“It’s not all speculated to be about getting folks excited to be astronauts sometime, which is actually cool,” Isaacman, 38, stated final week. “It’s additionally speculated to be about an inspiring message of what we are able to accomplish right here on Earth.”
He has two extra crew members to pick out, and he plans to disclose them in March.
One can be a sweepstakes winner; anybody donating to St. Jude this month is eligible. Thus far, greater than $9 million has are available in, based on Shadyac. The opposite seat will go to a enterprise proprietor who makes use of Shift4Payments, Isaacman’s Allentown, Pennsylvania, credit score card-processing firm.
Liftoff is focused round October at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle, with the capsule orbiting Earth two to 4 days. He’s not divulging the price.
The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.