Hayley Arceneaux, Soon to be the Youngest American Astronaut


Hayley Arceneaux standing in front of a mock-up of the rocket that will carry her to space. Credit: BBC

Chloe Huynh, Staff Writer

     Have you ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Hayley Arceneaux is a 29 year old woman who took her dream and made it a reality. When Hayley was 9 years old, she dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but she was diagnosed with bone cancer when she was 10 years old. While at St. Jude, Hayley had decided that when she grew older, she wanted to be a nurse. Hayley knew that it would be hard for her to achieve her dream of becoming an astronaut, but she never gave up. Now, Hayley has an opportunity to join in on a charitable mission where she will achieve her childhood dream of going to space. 

    When Hayley found out that she had bone cancer, she thought her dreams of becoming an astronaut were impossible to achieve. Hayley was given a prosthetic leg and at the time, that meant that her travels with NASA would most likely not happen due to strict medical requirements. So, when she heard that she had the chance of going to space, she immediately agreed. The mission she was joining is a private space mission which didn’t have some of the strict requirements others had. This allows Hayley to accomplish her goal of going to space. 

     Right now, Hayley works as a physician assistant at St. Jude (where she was a patient) and she will join Jared Isaacman, a pilot and the founder of Shift4 Payments, on the private space mission. Jared Isaacman, along with Hayley Arceneaux, seems to be excited for this mission as he said “I can’t think of a better person than Hayley to fulfil that responsibility.” On this mission, she will achieve her dream while also becoming the youngest american to go in space, and she will be the first person to go in space with a prosthetic body part.  

     Currently, Hayley has been chosen as one of the four people who will join Jared Isaacman, the pilot, who is on a charitable mission called Inspiration4 (this mission will raise money for St. Jude). At the moment, the mission is scheduled to take place in October of 2021 and will be hosted at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. In an interview, Hayley said, “And it means so much to me both as a former patient and now an employee to know that we’re going to be able to help so many more kids because of this mission.”

    According to CNBC, Hayley had said “I told myself over and over when I was going through treatment that God had a plan” in a previous interview with St. Jude. Hayley had extravagant dreams, one of her dreams being that she wanted to travel to all of the continents before she had turned 30. But, it looks like she won’t have to worry about that anymore as she will go to space. When Hayley Arceneaux goes to space, she will achieve her childhood dream, but she will also be a role model for others who aspire to be astronauts.