Monday, March 1, 2021

Cancer survivor joins first civilian space mission

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St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Hayley Arceneaux

Hayley Arceneaux, 29, is the first cancer survivor to become an astronaut, and is also the first person with a prosthesis to visit space and the youngest American to orbit the Earth.

According to an article BBC, released this Tuesday, the doctor was chosen, in January, to join the crew of first all-civilian space mission of the world. “I kept the biggest secret of my life for a month and a half. Now I can share it with the world, ”said Hayley.

The choice for the mission was announced on Monday by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where the young woman was patient as a child and currently works.

The mission will take place this year, on a Falcon 9 rocket, from SpaceX – a company founded by Elon Musk -, without professional astronauts on board. “I think this mission will inspire people in many ways. This proves that anything is possible, ”said Hayley.

The same initiative will include two other civilians and flight commander Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire who will pay for the mission in full. The entrepreneur intends to use this space trip to raise 200 million dollars (around 165 million euros) for St Jude.

Of the four seats available on the aircraft, one was offered to a hospital official. “From the beginning, we wanted a crew member to represent the mission’s spirit of hope,” said Jared. “I can’t think of a better person than Hayley to take on that responsibility.”

At age 10, Hayley had bone cancer. As part of the treatment, she underwent chemotherapy and surgery to replace some of the leg bones with prostheses. At a different time, this would be an impediment to being part of a space mission, due to the strict requirements on the part of NASA.

“This mission is opening space travel for people who are not physically perfect,” said Hayley, whose brother and sister-in-law – both aerospace engineers – assured him that the trip was safe.

Jared plans to select and reveal the remaining two crew members by March. One of them will be the winner of a drawing, whose profits will be donated to St Jude. The other will be the winner of a contest that asks entrepreneurs to design an online store through a software made by Shift4, his own technology company.

Once selected, the crew will undergo a rigorous training program, which will last for months and will include zero gravity simulations.

Taísa Pagno Taísa Pagno //

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Cancer survivor joins first civilian space mission