SpaceX recently said it would be sending four citizens into orbit aboard its Cre1 Dragon capsule. This would be the first time that a crew without any professional astronaut would fly into space. Amongst the civilians is a 29 year old who is practically the youngest American to fly into space.
Thanks to Jared Isaacman, a billionaire who bought the debut commercial astronaut rocket launch from SpaceX, the trip would be made possible. He’ll get one Crew Dragon seat on the Inspiration 4 mission, but he also donated three others. One will go to the winner of a contest sponsored by his company Shift4 and another to a St. Jude’s Hospital sweepstakes winner.
Hayley Arceneaux is a physician assistant at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, but nearly 20 years ago, she was a patient. With such a condition, no one is qualitified to go into space, but she was cleared by SpaceX for flight and will serve as the crew’s medical officer. “My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel,” she told The Associated Press. “It made me tough, and then also I think it really taught me to expect the unexpected and go along for the ride.”
Isaacman, who flies a Mig-29 and other military jets for fun, said that Hayley is a perfect fit for the civilian space flight team. “It’s not all supposed to be about getting people excited to be astronauts someday, which is certainly cool,” Isaacman said last week. “It’s also supposed to be about an inspiring message of what we can accomplish here on Earth.”
The next crewed SpaceX launch, Crew-2, is set for April 2021. Though they have limited time to prepare because liftoff at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is scheduled for October.