SpaceX Astronaut to Become Youngest American to Orbit Earth

SpaceX has announced Hayley Arceneaux as the second crew member for its first all-civilian tourism flight that will fly four people to Earth orbit later this year.

Arceneaux’s flight is set to mark three major achievements as she’ll be the first bone cancer survivor to become an astronaut, the first person with a prosthetic body part to travel to space, and, at just 29, the youngest American ever to orbit Earth.

Treated as a child for bone cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, she now works there as a physician assistant. Arceneaux will fly on the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission that was announced earlier this month.

The mission will be led by Shift4 Payments founder and CEO Jared Isaacman, who secured the exclusive flight in a private deal with SpaceX. The two remaining crew members are yet to be selected.

“It’s an incredible honor to join the Inspiration4 crew,” Arceneaux said following the announcement. “This seat represents the hope that St. Jude gave me — and continues to give families from around the world, who, like me, find hope when they walk through the doors of St. Jude.”

Arceneaux was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 10. Her treatment at St. Jude included chemotherapy, as well as surgery that replaced some of the bones in her legs with artificial ones.

“Now, I am fulfilling my dreams of working at the research hospital and traveling around the world,” Arceneaux said. “It’s incredible to be a part of this mission that is not only raising crucial funds for the lifesaving work of St. Jude, but also introducing new supporters to the mission and showing cancer survivors that anything is possible.”

Isaacman announced the selection of Arceneaux in a tweet, describing her as “an amazing person” who will be “an inspiration to people all over the world.”

Meet commercial astronaut Hayley Arceneaux. She is an amazing person & I know she will be an inspiration to people all over the ????. Not just those w/ dreams of going to ????, but to all people who need hope when encountering life challenges . Hayley, welcome to @inspiration4x pic.twitter.com/t02LFuU7mm

— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) February 22, 2021

Eager to promote St. Jude as part of the Inspiration4 mission, Isaacman has committed to giving $100 million to the hospital while encouraging others to support the facility. Fundraising efforts will continue until the launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the final quarter of this year.

The main goal of the mission is to send a humanitarian message of possibility, as well as inspire support for St. Jude, and represents the pillars of leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.

The two remaining seats on the missions are still up for grabs — and they’re free, too. Check out this article for more information on how to apply.

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