Earlier, SpaceX had announced Inspiration4, its all-civilian private spaceflight mission in the final quarter of 2021, having a crew of billionaire Jared Isaacman and three other crew members to be sponsored by Isaacman, his company, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Now, it has been announced that 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, a physician’s assistant at St. Jude’s Research Hospital and a former bone cancer survivor herself, would be the second crew member of the mission.
Arceneaux is set to fill the seat representing Hope in the flight. “It’s an incredible honor to join the Inspiration4 crew. 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,” said Arceneaux. “When I was just 10 years old, St. Jude gave me the opportunity to grow up. Now I am fulfilling my dreams of working at the research hospital and traveling around the world. 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.”
Inspiration4 is set to use SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket. The mission recognizes the purpose of the four-person crew, sending a humanitarian message of possibility and inspiring support for St. Jude, representing the pillars of Leadership, Hope, Generosity, and Prosperity. The mission will launch from the NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and will be carefully monitored as the spacecraft orbits the planet every 90 minutes along a customized flight path. Upon conclusion of the multi-day journey, Dragon is set to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for soft water landing off the coast of Florida.
“Assembling a unique and diverse crew whose personal stories and values will inspire people everywhere is at the heart of the Inspiration4 mission,” said Isaacman. “As I’ve spent time with Hayley in the earliest days of mission prep, she’s everything we want our team to represent – she’s interested in the world around her, devoted to caring for others, and hopeful for a better future for all of us. She already inspires me, and I’m certain she’ll inspire many others as they get to know her in the course of our mission.”
Arceneaux is set to create history by becoming the first person with a prosthesis to go to space. The 29-year-old had surgery when she was 10 to replace her knee and get a titanium rod in her left thigh bone. Additionally, she is set to become the youngest American ever to reach the final frontier.
Arceneaux, Isaacman, and the others are set to undergo commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the launching of the Falcon 9 and the Dragon spacecraft, as well as emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress, and egress exercises, and partial- and full-mission simulations.
Isaacman, apart from sponsoring the trip to space, has donated $100 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital from his own funds.