SpaceX has announced that it will send four normal humans aboard the Crew Dragon. There won’t be a single professional astronaut among them. One of the passengers will be 29-year-old Hayley Arsenault, she will become the first youngest American woman in space.
The flight was made possible by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who paid for SpaceX’s first commercial flight. Jared himself will take only one seat, and he donated the other three to charity. One place will go to the winner of the competition run by his company Shift4, the second to the winner from St. Jude Hospital. The fourth place is for one of the hospital’s top staff members, symbolizing hope – and that is Hayley.
Arsenault works as an assistant physiotherapist at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, but 20 years ago she was a patient herself. In 2002, she was treated for bone marrow cancer, which resulted in metal rods in place of the bones in her right leg. So Hayley will also become the first person in space to have serious body augmentation.
Usually such a condition would lead to the disqualification of any would-be astronaut, especially since Arseno still has a limp and pain in his leg. However, SpaceX has given the green light so that Haley will serve as a medic aboard the Crew Dragon.
The battle with cancer prepared me for space. She tempered, and, I think, taught to expect the unexpected …
The other two passengers of the Inspiration4 mission will be named in March. The launch is scheduled for October 2021. The team will spend four days in space.