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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Celestis, Inc.
IndustrySpace burials
FoundersCharles M. Chafer
R. Chan Tysor
ParentSpace Services Inc.

Celestis, Inc. is a company that launches cremated human remains into space, a procedure known as a space burial. It is a subsidiary of the private space company Space Services Inc.[1] The company purchases launches as a secondary payload on various launch vehicles, and launches samples of a person's cremated remains. Launching an individual's entire cremated remains (which weigh between four and eight pounds)[2] would be prohibitively expensive for most people, so Celestis launches 1 gram or 7 gram samples of cremated remains so as to provide an affordable service.[3]


Celestis has flown a number of notable participants over the years. Its first flight – The Founders Flight — carried cremated remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and 1960s icon Timothy Leary into Earth orbit. Also on board were remains of physicist and space visionary Gerard K. O'Neill, noted rocket scientist Krafft A. Ehricke, and 20 others.[4] Dr. Eugene Shoemaker — a famous planetary geologist and co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 – was launched to the Moon on NASA's Lunar Prospector mission in 1998: Celestis helped friends of Dr. Shoemaker include a sample of his cremated remains on that mission.[5] Mercury 7 astronaut L. Gordon Cooper,[6] Star Trek actor James Doohan ("Mr. Scott"),[7] and a host of others from various walks of life were launched on board The Legacy Flight in 2007.[8] Titanic explorer Ralph White was on board the Discovery[9] and Pioneer[10] flights.

Family members and friends of flight participants usually can attend the launch. Celestis usually arranges for a tour of the launch facility and hosts a non-sectarian memorial service prior to the launch.[3] Celestis also helps people prearrange their own memorial spaceflights for the future.[11]


Launch date / time (UTC) Launch vehicle Flight name Orbit Notable individuals Remarks
21 April 1997, 11:59 Pegasus-XL Founders [12] Earth orbit Beauford Franklin, rocket scientist
Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator
Gerard O'Neill, physicist
Krafft Ehricke, rocket scientist
Timothy Leary, psychologist, writer
Reached Earth orbit; Reentered atmosphere 20 May 2002
7 January 1998, 02:29 Athena Luna-01 [12] Lunar Eugene Merle Shoemaker, astronomer Attached to Lunar Prospector
Landed 31 July 1999 [13]
10 December 1998, 13:20 Taurus Ad Astra [12] Earth orbit Reached Earth orbit; still on orbit
21 December 1999, 07:13 Taurus Millennial [12] Earth orbit Charles Oren Bennett, illustrator Reached Earth orbit; still on orbit
21 September 2001, 18:49 Taurus Odyssey [12] Earth orbit Failed to orbit
28 April 2007, 14:56 SpaceLoft XL Legacy Earthrise (suborbital) Gordon Cooper, astronaut
James Doohan, Star Trek actor
Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
3 August 2008, 03:34 Falcon 1 Explorers Earth orbit Gordon Cooper, astronaut
James Doohan, Star Trek actor
Failed to orbit[14]
2 May 2009, 14:00 SpaceLoft XL Discovery Earthrise (suborbital) Ralph White, explorer [15] Failed to reach space[16][17]
4 May 2010, 12:41 SpaceLoft XL Pioneer Earthrise (suborbital) Ralph White, explorer [18] Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
20 May 2011, 13:21 SpaceLoft XL Goddard Earthrise (suborbital) Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
22 May 2012, 07:44 Falcon 9 New Frontier [19] Earth orbit Gordon Cooper, astronaut
James Doohan, Star Trek actor
Reached orbit, on a canister attached to the Falcon 9 launch vehicle's second stage.[20] Reentered Earth's atmosphere on 27 June 2012.[21] It carried the ashes of 308 people, 1-gram per person.[22]
21 June 2013, 11:57 SpaceLoft XL Centennial [23] Earthrise (suborbital) Candy Johnson, entertainer Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
23 October 2014, 13:33 SpaceLoft XL Conestoga [24] Earthrise (suborbital) CJ Twomey Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
6 November 2015, 15:01 SpaceLoft XL Tribute [25] Earthrise (suborbital) Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
17 September 2018, 14:09 SpaceLoft XL Starseeker [26] Earthrise (suborbital) Reached space and returned to Earth, as planned
25 June 2019, 06:30 Falcon Heavy Heritage [27] Earth orbit William Reid Pogue, astronaut [28] Reached orbit successfully

Future flights

In 2021,[29] as a memorial service for the Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Star Trek's "Nurse Chapel", the voice of the computer on board the fictional starship Enterprise, and Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation), her remains will fly with those of her late husband Gene Roddenberry together "on an infinite journey into deep space aboard their Voyager Memorial Spaceflight Service ... will carry their spirits, their memories, and the message of their life’s work into the cosmos."[30]


  1. ^ "Launch ashes – Space burial – Space funeral – Cremation memorials". 1 January 1995. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Cremation Process: Step by Step". Retrieved 24 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Launch ashes – Space burial – Space funeral – Cremation memorials". 1 January 1995. Archived from the original on 28 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Founders Flight". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Launch ashes – Space burial – Space funeral – Cremation memorials". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Participants on board The Legacy Flight". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Participants on board The Legacy Flight". 31 August 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  8. ^ "The founders of Celestis bring you: Space Services Inc. – Memorial Spaceflights". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Participants on board The Discovery Flight". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  10. ^ "Participants on board The Pioneer Flight". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Launch ashes – Space burial – Space funeral – Cremation memorials". 1 January 1995. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Launch manifest". Celestis.
  13. ^ "NO WATER ICE DETECTED FROM LUNAR PROSPECTOR IMPACT". NASA. 13 October 1999. Retrieved 1 June 2017. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ Bergin, Chris (2 August 2008). "SpaceX Falcon I fails during first stage flight".
  15. ^ "Ralph Bradshaw White". The Discovery Flight. Celestis. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  16. ^ "Officials Praise NM Rocket Launch". KOAT. 2 May 2009. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  17. ^ "Rocket falls short of altitude goal at space port". 2 May 2009. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  18. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Pioneer Flight". Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  19. ^ "The New Frontier Memorial Spaceflight". Celestis. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Star Trek's "Scotty" finally launched into space". CBS News. New York. Associated Press. 22 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  21. ^ "CELESTIS 11/FALCON 9 R/B". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  22. ^ Moskowitz, Clara (22 May 2012). "Ashes of Star Trek's 'Scotty' Ride Private Rocket Into Space". New York. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Centennial Flight". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Conestoga Flight". Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Tribute Flight | Celestis Memorial Spaceflights".
  26. ^ "Starseeker Flight | Celestis Memorial Spaceflights".
  27. ^ "Heritage Flight". Celestis. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  28. ^ Mack, Eric (23 June 2019). "SpaceX Falcon Heavy to launch ashes of an all-star, astronaut and others". CNET. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  29. ^ "Enterprise Flight". Celestis. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  30. ^ "Celestis Voyager Flight Participants". Retrieved 24 July 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 October 2021, at 08:38
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