SpaceX is getting ready to send four civilians into orbit aboard its Crew Dragon capsule, and not a single professional astronaut will be on board (say what!?). The trip will happen courtesy of billionaire Jared Isaacman, who purchased the debut commercial astronaut rocket launch from Space X.
While Isaacman will be one of the four people to get a seat on the Crew Dragon, he has donated the three others. As reported by Engadget, one will go to the winner of a contest sponsored by his company Shift4 and another to a St. Jude’s Hospital sweepstakes winner.
The last seat, however, will be taken by Hayley Arceneaux, who is now a physician assistant at St. Jude’s Children’s Research and once was a patient after being treated for bone cancer nearly 20 years ago, which left her with metal rods in place of some of the bones in her left leg. Now, at 29 years old, she will become the youngest-ever American to fly into space and the first person with a prosthetic body part to go into space.
While a medical condition is typically a disqualification for aspiring astronauts, Arceneaux, who still walks with a limp, has been cleared for flight and will serve as the crew’s medical officer.
“My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel,” said Arceneaux. “It made me tough, and then also I think it really taught me to expect the unexpected and go along for the ride.”
While Arceneaux is set to be the first person with a so-called disability, she won’t be the last. Just days ago, we wrote a story detailing how The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking to hire astronauts with disabilities.