The second passenger of the SpaceX manned Dragon spacecraft’s first space trip, Inspiration4, announced on Feb. 22: Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer fighter. She will be the youngest American to go into space and the first person to go into space with a prosthetic leg bone.
Arceneaux, 29, is a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a childhood bone cancer survivor. Arseneau had part of her femur removed when she was treated for bone cancer at age 10, which led to the implantation of a titanium artificial bone in her left thigh bone.
No one expected that 19 years later, the cancer fighter would have the opportunity to go to space. Arseneau revealed that she will take part in the first SpaceX manned Dragon spacecraft for all, which will be launched before the end of this year, and the passengers will orbit the Earth and conduct experiments.
Last year, Arsenault was hired by St. Jude’s to work with children with leukemia and lymphoma. The invitation to join Inspiration 4 came from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the same center where Arseneau was treated as a child. “They asked me if I wanted to go to space. I immediately said, ‘Yes, yes! Put my name down.'”
Arseneau said she hopes to inspire the children in St. Jude’s. “They will see a cancer survivor in space, especially someone who has been through the same thing as them.” She said it will help patients imagine their own future.
The flight, called “Inspiration 4,” was “contracted” by 37-year-old American billionaire Jared Isaacman. On February 1, at local time, SpaceX announced that it will send Isaacman, CEO of the U.S. online payment processing company Shift4 Payments, and three others to space as early as the fourth quarter of this year.
The flight, which will last 2-4 days, will not dock with the International Space Station and will return with a splashdown on the Florida coast. 4 seats represent leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity, respectively. Isaac Mann is the commander of the space trip, and the remaining three seats he bought will be donated to the American public. Among them, Arseneau was given the “hope” seat.
Those who create online stores and tweet business stories through Shift4Shop, a platform provided by Isaac Mann’s payment company, can compete for the “Prosperity” seat. Those who donate at least $10 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital this month will be entered into a drawing for a “generous” seat.
According to the New York Times, Arseneau and Isaacman have visited SpaceX’s headquarters in California three times to meet with engineers and begin planning the trip. In the “boom” seat competition, fewer than 100 people had submitted complete entries as of last week. For the “generous” seat, the donation campaign has raised about $9.5 million so far.
As things stand now, Arseneau will become the youngest American spacefarer, two years ahead of Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, according to space.com. Ride’s first flight was in 1983 when she was 31 years old.