Sky is not the limit: Bone cancer survivor to join billionaire Jared Isaacman on SpaceX flight

Hayley Arceneaux will also be the first to launch with a prosthesis.

AP
File photo of February 10, 2021: Photo provided by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital shows Hayley Arceneaux at the hospital in Memphis.
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA: After beating bone cancer, Hayley Arceneaux figures rocketing into orbit on SpaceX's first private flight should be a piece of cosmic cake.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced Monday that the 29-year-old physician assistant - a former patient hired last spring - will launch later this year alongside a billionaire who's using his purchased spaceflight as a charitable fundraiser.

Arceneaux will become the youngest American in space - beating NASA record-holder Sally Ride by over two years - when she blasts off this fall with entrepreneur Jared Isaacman and two yet-to-be-chosen contest winners.



She'll also be the first to launch with a prosthesis. When she was 10, she had surgery at St. Jude to replace her knee and get a titanium rod in her left thigh bone. She still limps and suffers occasional leg pain, but has been cleared for flight by SpaceX. She'll serve as the crew's medical officer.

"My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel," Arceneaux said in an interview with 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."

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She wants to show her young patients and other cancer survivors that "the sky is not even the limit anymore."

"It's going to mean so much to these kids to see a survivor in space," she said.
Hayley Arceneaux 1
Hayley Arceneaux was at home in Memphis, Tennessee, when she got the "out of the blue" call in January asking if she'd represent St. Jude in space.

Isaacman announced his space mission Feb. 1, pledging to raise $200 million for St. Jude, half of that his own contribution. As the flight's self-appointed commander, he offered one of the four SpaceX Dragon capsule seats to St. Jude.

Without alerting the staff, St. Jude chose Arceneaux from among the "scores" of hospital and fundraising employees who had once been patients and could represent the next generation, said Rick Shadyac, president of St. Jude's fundraising organization.

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Arceneaux was at home in Memphis, Tennessee, when she got the "out of the blue" call in January asking if she'd represent St. Jude in space.

Her immediate response: "Yes! Yes! Please!" But first she wanted to run it past her mother in St. Francisville, Louisiana. (Her father died of kidney cancer in 2018.) Next she reached out to her brother and sister-in-law, both of them aerospace engineers in Huntsville, Alabama, who "reassured me how safe space travel is."

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A lifelong space fan who embraces adventure, Arceneaux insists those who know her won't be surprised. She's plunged on a bungee swing in New Zealand and ridden camels in Morocco. And she loves roller-coasters.

Isaacman, who flies fighter jets for a hobby, considers her a perfect fit.

"It's not all supposed to be about getting people excited to be astronauts someday, which is certainly cool," Isaacman, 38, said last week. "It's also supposed to be about an inspiring message of what we can accomplish here on Earth."

He has two more crew members to select, and he plans to reveal them in March.

One will be a sweepstakes winner; anyone donating to St. Jude this month is eligible. So far, more than $9 million has come in, according to Shadyac. The other seat will go to a business owner who uses Shift4Payments, Isaacman's Allentown, Pennsylvania, credit card-processing company.

Liftoff is targeted around October at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, with the capsule orbiting Earth two to four days. He's not divulging the cost.

An Indian Restaurant Owner Tried Sending Samosa To Space; Other Food Items That Have Been Sent To The Great Beyond
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Indian restaurant owner, Niraj Gadher, who runs Chai Walla in Bath, likes to think big. And that’s why he sent a samosa into space. While his first two attempts to launch the savoury snack into the great beyond ended in failure, it looks like the third time was the charm – sort of.


Gadher managed to get the samosa up, up, up and away but then lost track of the snack when the GPS signal failed. However, after returning to Earth the following day, the GPS tracker revealed that the package had made its way across southern England, crossed the Channel and had crash landed in Caix in northern France. However, the samosa isn’t the strangest thing to be sent into space. Read on to find out what strange items mankind has sent up into space.

Indian restaurant owner, Niraj Gadher, who runs Chai Walla in Bath, likes to think big. And that’s why he sent a samosa into space. While his first two attempts to launch the savoury snack into the g..
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While this order would not have taken 30 minutes or less, in 2001, Pizza Hut became the first company to deliver a pizza into space. The brand struck a deal with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to have a pizza delivered to Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov at the International Space Station (ISS). The delivery was reportedly worth $1 million at the time.

While this order would not have taken 30 minutes or less, in 2001, Pizza Hut became the first company to deliver a pizza into space. The brand struck a deal with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to..
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In 2010, SpaceX launched a wheel of Gruyère cheese into space. While CEO Elon Musk was secretive about the cargo at first, once the mission was accomplished he revealed that it was in homage to a Monty Python skit where John Cleese tries to order cheese from a cheeseless cheese shop.

In 2010, SpaceX launched a wheel of Gruyère cheese into space. While CEO Elon Musk was secretive about the cargo at first, once the mission was accomplished he revealed that it was in homage to a Mon..
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In 2019, lab grown meat made its debut aboard the International Space Station. Israel-based startup Aleph Farms created the world's first steak grown inside a laboratory and decided to send it out into the atmosphere. They sent the necessary tools as well and the astronaut had to make a piece of steak using cow cells and a 3D printer.

In 2019, lab grown meat made its debut aboard the International Space Station. Israel-based startup Aleph Farms created the world's first steak grown inside a laboratory and decided to send it out in..
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Coca-Cola and Pepsi took their rivalry into the great beyond. In 1985, modified cans carried both companies' fizzy sugar drinks into low Earth orbit on a space shuttle Challenger mission. However, astronauts were banned from showing the cans on TV to avoid tainting NASA with advertising.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi took their rivalry into the great beyond. In 1985, modified cans carried both companies' fizzy sugar drinks into low Earth orbit on a space shuttle Challenger mission. However, as..
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