STANDARDS

CCSS: 2.MD.A.1

TEKS: 2.9D

Inspirational Astronaut

Cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux is one of the first civilian astronauts

SpaceX/UPI/Alamy Stock Photo

Hayley Arceneaux before launch

In September 2021, a rocket launched from Florida into space. It was carrying four Americans. But they weren’t NASA astronauts. They were civilians: regular people without official NASA training! Called Inspiration4, the mission was the first spaceflight ever made without a professional astronaut on board.

Among the crew was chief medical officer Hayley Arceneaux (AHR-sen-oh). At only 29 years old, she’s now the youngest American to travel to space. She’s also the first astronaut with a prosthesis, or artificial body part!

A rocket launched from Florida into space in September 2021. It was carrying four Americans. But they were not NASA astronauts. The people on board were civilians. Civilians are regular people without NASA training! The mission was called Inspiration4. It was the first spaceflight ever made without a professional astronaut on board.

Hayley Arceneaux (AHR-sen-oh) was part of the crew. Her role was chief medical officer. Arceneaux is 29 years old. She is now the youngest American to travel to space. She is also the first astronaut with a prosthesis! A prosthesis is a human-made body part.

Journey to Space

When Arceneaux was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Doctors at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital replaced two bones in her left leg with metal rods.

Arceneaux is now cancer-free. She learned a lot from the experience. “It taught me to expect the unexpected,” she
says. “I think in some ways it prepared me to be an astronaut.”

The leader of the Inspiration4 mission, Jared Isaacman, wanted to use the trip to help raise funds for St. Jude. So he asked Arceneaux, who is now a physician assistant at the hospital, to join the crew.

Arceneaux was diagnosed with bone cancer when she was 10 years old. Doctors at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital replaced two bones in her left leg with metal rods.

Arceneaux is now cancer-free. She learned a lot from the experience. “It taught me to expect the unexpected,” she says. “I think in some ways it prepared me to be an astronaut.”

Jared Isaacman was the leader of the Inspiration4 mission. He wanted to use the trip to help raise funds for St. Jude. Arceneaux is now a physician assistant at the hospital. So he asked her to join the crew.

Brandon Moser/Alamy Stock Photo 

The Mission

Hayley Arceneaux in space

Arceneaux and her crewmates trained for months. They learned survival techniques and climbed a mountain as a team. They even experienced the conditions of a rocket launch in a machine called a centrifuge. “They put us in a little capsule and spun us around a room really quickly,” Arceneaux says. “I got up to 6 Gs, which is 6 times the amount of normal gravity.”

During their almost 3-day journey, the four crewmates lived in a tiny spacecraft only 26.7 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter. Arceneaux monitored everyone’s health and performed medical experiments, such as drawing blood in space.

“Going to space is like a dream come true that I didn’t know was a dream,” Arceneaux says. “In life we all go through difficult times. Hold on to the hope that there will be better days.”

Arceneaux and her crewmates trained for months. They learned survival techniques. They climbed a mountain as a team. They even experienced what it would be like to be launched in a rocket. A machine called a centrifuge made that possible. “They put us in a little capsule and spun us around a room really quickly,” Arceneaux says. “I got up to 6 Gs. That is 6 times the amount of normal gravity.”

The Inspiration4 mission lasted almost 3 days in space. The four crewmates lived in a tiny spacecraft during that time. The craft was 26.7 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter. Arceneaux monitored everyone’s health. She also performed medical experiments. One experiment involved drawing blood in space.

“Going to space is like a dream come true that I didn’t know was a dream,” Arceneaux says. “In life we all go through difficult times. Hold on to the hope that there will be better days.”

Analysis

Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

What shapes and materials did you use for your rocket? Why did you choose them?

What shapes and materials did you use for your rocket? Why did you choose them?

Which of your classmates’ rockets flew the farthest? Why do you think that happened?

Which of your classmates’ rockets flew the farthest? Why do you think that happened?

What changes would you make to your rocket to make it fly farther?

What changes would you make to your rocket to make it fly farther?

videos (1)
Skills Sheets (2)
Skills Sheets (2)
Lesson Plan (1)
Text-to-Speech