29-year-old woman becomes youngest American in space after SpaceX launch


Baton Rouge, Louisiana native Hayley Arceneaux made history Wednesday night as the youngest American in space.

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The 29-year-old is part of SpaceX's all-civilian Inspiration4 space mission that aims to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where Arceneaux overcame bone cancer. Assistant Professor Lindsay Ferrington at LSU Health Shreveport was one of Arceneaux’s instructors.

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“Whenever this came out earlier this year that she was going to be going to space, I was thrilled and shocked. I knew she was going to do amazing things, but I just never considered space as one of them,” said Ferrington.

Arceneaux is also the first cancer survivor and the first person with a prothesis to journey into space. Ferrington remembers when Arceneaux applied to the LSU Health Shreveport Physician Assistant Program, and she realized then her potential.

“She had a very long battle with cancer where she was at St. Jude’s I believe for a year or so. She overcame that and I think once she realized that she could overcome that, that she could really do anything,” said Ferrington.

Arceneaux now works as a PA at St. Jude and she inspires her patients as a cancer survivor herself and her mission in space. Ferrington said they are celebrating Arceneaux with a launch party at the school.

“To watch some of the stuff that happens before, some of the things that are on Netflix, for all the students, and we’re having a big party here at the school. But we will be watching tonight. I’m excited for her but like I said I’m nervous,” said Ferrington.

The launch was streamed live by SpaceX on its YouTube channel, and also by Netflix on its YouTube channel.

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