SpaceX is now in the business of flying people to space, and if all goes to plan, it’ll be the first to provide a trip for a crew made up entirely of private space tourists later this year. Now, we know who will join billionaire and Shift4Payments founder Jason Isaacman on that trip – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital employee, and former patient Hayley Arceneaux.
Arceneaux was already selected by Isaacman to be one of the four members of the crew for the mission aboard a SpaceX Dragon, which will include a flight to an unspecified orbit for a trip likely spanning a few days when it launches. The billionaire tipped that he “already knew” who he’d picked to represent St. Jude during a press call when the trip was originally announced earlier this year, but noted that he was saving the reveal.
Isaacman is running a months-long campaign around ‘Inspiration4,’ which is what he has named the flight. The remaining two seats will be given to winners chosen from two separate ongoing competitions: One pool includes anyone who makes a donation to St. Jude during the course of a fundraising campaign attached to the launch, and the other will be selected from entrepreneurs who build an online store on Shift4’s newly launched e-commerce platform.
As AP reports, Arceneaux is a bone cancer survivor who joined St. Jude last year as a physician assistant. She’s record a number of firsts and records when she gets to space on the upcoming flight, including becoming the youngest American ever in space at just 29, and also becoming the first to enter space with a prosthetic in place – she has an artificial knee and a rod in her thighs bone due to the bone cancer she was treated for at St. Jude when she was 10.
Isaacman is footing the entire bill for the SpaceX launch – including covering the tax obligations of the other winners selected for the St. Jude seats on the mission. He has also committed to donating $100 million to the hospital from his own funds, in addition to whatever is raised through the public donation drive that will be used to select one of the other crew members.