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Hayley Arceneaux family & friends describe front row seat to Inspiration4 launch

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 10:30 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - SpaceX launched its first all civilian crew into space Wednesday night (Sept. 15) from the Kennedy Space Center, with a Louisiana native on board.

St. Joseph’s Academy grad and St. Francisville native, Hayley Arceneaux, is the crew’s medical officer. The 29-year-old is now the youngest American to enter space.

They will be in space for three days, in the hopes of raising $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. But before the crew of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 even launched into the cosmos, Arceneaux had a loyal group of supporters watching nearby.

“All of these wonderful girls are Hayley’s sorority sisters, and this is Hayley’s wonderful cousin,” said Breanna Betts Smith, Hayley’s former babysitter.

Their crew literally had a birds-eye view of history, watching Arceneaux blast off.

“We got a perfect head on view from the launch from there,” said Lauren Liebkemann, Hayley’s cousin.

“And then we got to go back into the room and watch it real time, her in the Dragon, which was like the coolest thing,” said Brittney Rosenbach, Hayley’s sorority sister.

“So we saw it blast off, and when we go back in the room, we got to see, like, the Dragon detach and actually go into orbit,” said Kelley Murphy, Hayley’s sorority sister.

St. Joseph’s Academy even allowed students to dress up as astronauts and in other space-themed costumes on Wednesday to celebrate the launch. Arceneaux’s friends and family were just excited to watch her continue to make history and represent the State of Louisiana.

“I mean, down here in Louisiana, we don’t do small things, we do pretty big things. I think the whole state, well I can speak for us personally in St. Francisville, I think we’re all just so proud of her. And it was just the most overwhelming and surreal experience to watch someone that you loved that much, you know, she is not even here on Earth anymore. It’s just wild,” said Liebkemann.

After three days in space, Dragon will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and splash down off the coast of Florida.

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