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Names and faces

by The Associated Press | February 23, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

The Associated Press

• After beating bone cancer, Hayley Arceneaux figures rocketing into orbit on SpaceX's first private flight should be a piece of cosmic cake. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced Monday that the 29-year-old physician assistant from Memphis -- a former patient hired last spring -- will launch later this year alongside a billionaire who's using his purchased spaceflight as a charitable fundraiser. Arceneaux will become the youngest American in space -- beating NASA record-holder Sally Ride by over two years -- when she blasts off this fall with entrepreneur Jared Isaacman and two yet-to-be-chosen contest winners. Isaacman announced his space mission Feb. 1, pledging to raise $200 million for St. Jude, half of that his own contribution. As the flight's self-appointed commander, he offered one of the four SpaceX Dragon capsule seats to St. Jude. Arceneaux, chosen from among "scores" of hospital and fundraising employees who had once been patients, will also be the first to launch with a prosthesis. When she was 10, she had surgery at St. Jude to replace her knee and get a titanium rod in her left thigh bone. While she still limps and suffers occasional leg pain, she has been cleared for flight by SpaceX and will serve as the crew's medical officer. "My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel," Arceneaux said. "It made me tough, and then also I think it really taught me to expect the unexpected and go along for the ride." She wants to show her young patients and other cancer survivors that "the sky is not even the limit anymore." Isaacman plans to reveal the other two crew members in March.

• Grammy-winning electronic music pioneers Daft Punk have announced that they are breaking up after 28 years. The helmet-wearing French duo shared the news Monday in an 8-minute video called "Epilogue." Kathryn Frazier, the band's longtime publicist, confirmed the break up. Daft Punk, comprised of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, have won six Grammy Awards and launched international hits such as "One More Time," "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and "Get Lucky." Bangalter and de Homem-Christo officially formed Daft Punk in 1993, and the helmeted, mute and mysterious musicians released their debut album, "Homework," in 1997. They first found success with the international hit "Da Funk," which topped the Billboard dance charts and earned them their first Grammy nomination. At the 2014 Grammys, Daft Punk took the spotlight, winning album of the year for "Random Access Memories" and making history as the first electronic act to win the highest honor at the Grammys. The duo won four awards that night, including record of the year for their bombshell hit "Get Lucky," featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.


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