|Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor, will achieve a number of firsts when she goes to space this year. (Photo by= St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] The first bone cancer survivor to become an astronaut. The first person with a prosthetic body part to visit space. And the youngest American ever to orbit Earth. These are the impressive firsts that could soon be attributable to 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux.
In January, the physician assistant was picked to join the crew of the world's first all-civilian space mission. Ms Arceneaux was ecstatic but, at first, she had to keep her lips sealed. "I've held onto the biggest secret of my life for a month and a half. So now I get to share it with the world," she told the BBC. Her selection for the historic mission was announced on Monday by the St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where Ms Arceneaux was once a cancer patient as a child and now works.
Later this year, she will launch from Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket made by SpaceX, the company founded by business mogul Elon Musk. There will be no professional astronauts onboard the spacecraft. Rather, Ms Arceneaux will be joined by two contest winners and flight commander Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire who is paying for the entire mission. Mr Isaacman aims to use the flight to raise $200m (£142m) for St Jude, half of which he said he will donate himself.