29-year-old medical assistant and cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux is the last member to join SpaceX̵
Arceneaux breaks many boundaries. Women have gone to space before, but in smaller numbers compared to their male counterparts. Before Arceneaux, SpaceX had just sent another woman to the moon. And she completely breaks boundaries that would normally keep someone like her from going to space. Arceneaux was diagnosed with bone cancer when she was 10 years old. From On the 19th.:
According to current NASA medical guidelines, Arceneaux would not have been able to participate in the mission: She has an artificial joint in her leg and a titanium rod in her left femur due to the treatment. She spent a year at intensemble chemotherapy and surgery to remove a lump that had formed on the left knee. She had to learn to walk again.
Astronauts undergo rigorous physical tests to qualify for a flight, and a prosthesis would have disqualified her for a mission if it were not for the commercial nature of the aircraft. Women were originally excluded from space travel due to assumptions about physical fitness and gendered expectations.
She is able to take the trip because the plane is led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who bought the plane from SpaceX and decided to set aside two seats for people who have been treated or worked at St. Jude. Arceneaux, a former patient, had only worked as a medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when she was called to join the crew.
Her answer was a resounding “yes!” followed by a request that she pray to her mother, who had gone through hell to keep her daughter healthy. But that was the kind of opportunity you would be stupid to give away.
“Women belong in the room … I’m not going to be the last,” Arceneaux said. “And I’m incredibly excited to represent women, and then represent those who are not physically perfect.”