Hayley Arceneaux’s journey into space has begun.
Arceneaux, a native of Baton Rouge, took off Wednesday evening from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., As part of Inspiration4, the first orbital space flight in history without a professional astronaut on board. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A – the starting point for many Apollo and Space Shuttle missions – at 7:03 p.m. CDT into an almost cloudless sky. They reached orbit less than 10 minutes later.
“I am delighted, delighted,” said Colleen Arceneaux, Hayley’s mother. “I couldn’t be happier.”
“SpaceX officials said it was the best launch they’ve ever seen,” said Hayden Arceneaux, brother of Hayley, who is an aerospace engineer. “There was no problem.”
Hayley Arceneaux, 29, joins businessman-philanthropist Jared Isaacman, who paid an undisclosed sum to book the flight; geoscientist Sian Proctor; and Chris Sembroski, an aerospace industry worker, on a three-day trip 357 miles above the Earth’s surface.
As the brilliant glow of the rocket engines pierced the darkness, the friends of Arceneaux who had come to witness the moment became moved.
“We weren’t all expecting to cry, but we were all immediately in awe of the fact that we all hugged and hooted a little bit,” said Courtney Major, who attended school with Arceneaux in St. Joseph’s Academy. and the University of Southeast Louisiana. “There was a lot of oh and ah and gasps of excitement all around. “
Amanda Pittman, who joined Major and a dozen other friends watching just outside the Kennedy Space Center, said they never imagined anyone they knew would go to space before they went to space. ‘Arceneaux did not announce the news at the beginning of this year.
“If anyone had to do it, it would be Hayley,” Pittman said.
Arceneaux was chosen because of its association with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which is the recipient of the space mission’s $ 200 million fundraising goal, half of which has already contributed .
That Haley Arceneaux jumped at the chance to travel to space is no surprise. She has already traveled on five continents, on the back of a camel …
Unlike the short flights this summer that Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos took in their rockets that barely reached space, this flight will stretch for miles beyond the International Space Station and s ‘will crash off Florida this weekend.
This height will give astronauts a view of Earth that few people have seen. Former astronaut and NASA administrator Charles Bolden flew a mission to the Hubble Telescope.
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“It’s a jaw-dropping difference,” Bolden said in an interview on the SpaceX video stream an hour before launch. “I just hope they take the opportunity to suck it in, enjoy it and visualize it so they can tell stories about it to their children and grandchildren and all the children that they are. they meet.”
The fully automated Dragon capsule has already been used for SpaceX’s second astronaut flight for NASA to the space station. Since this flight will not be connected to the space station, a large dome-shaped window replaced the capsule’s docking mechanisms. Isaacman, who is a military jet pilot, is the captain.
Arceneaux, who grew up in St. Francisville, is the daughter of Colleen and the late Howard Arceneaux.
Since her diagnosis of childhood cancer, Hayley Arceneaux, from Baton Rouge, has been the spokesperson for how the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospita…
She became a patient of St. Jude after being diagnosed with bone cancer in 2002 when she was 10 years old. Her treatment at St. Jude included chemotherapy and breakthrough surgery in which most of her femur was removed and replaced with a prosthesis that can grow without further surgery as she gets older.
While in St. Jude, Arceneaux became an ambassador for the organization, telling her story to raise funds and raise awareness of the research hospital.
She returned to the hospital for continuing care and became a summer intern in the pediatric oncology training program in 2013 before becoming a medical assistant.
Arceneaux is the youngest American, the first pediatric cancer survivor and the first person with an internal prosthesis to fly into space.
“Surviving cancer has made it difficult for me, and I think it taught me a lot to step out of my comfort zone,” Arceneaux told CBS Evening News presenter Norah O’Donnell.
Arceneaux has been designated as the crew’s medical officer, and SpaceX says the crew will conduct science experiments during their three-day mission. Arceneaux said she plans to call her patients from St. Jude to orbit the Earth.
Arceneaux received the call sign from astronaut NOVA, which she says does not represent any ordinary fox astronaut.
“They gave me a sassy name because I’m a sassy astronaut,” Arceneaux said.