British Funeral Flights

UK FlagMany British families have chosen Celestis funeral flights to commemorate the lives of their departed loved ones. Celestis encourages Britons interested in our unique space funeral services to work with Heavens Above Fireworks, which is our British master distributor in the United Kingdom. The company is led by Mr. Fergus Jamieson of Epping, Essex.

“For over a decade Celestis has been fortunate to develop a strong, working relationship with Mr. Fergus Jamieson. We are thrilled to work with Mr. Jamieson and our cooperation with his company over the years has always been very professional and prompt,” says Chris Chol, Director of Client Services. “We appreciate the dedication and efforts that Mr. Jamieson has devoted to offering funeral flights to his clients. It is truly inspiring to work with him to bring the dream of spaceflight one step closer to reality to our families in the UK, and contribute together to our future in space exploration.”

Eileen Stanford
British Celestis participant Eileen Stanford

Mr. Jamieson said, “We at Heavens Above Fireworks were really pleased to be appointed the UK’s Master Distributor for Celestis. Although we primarily disperse cremated remains in spectacular Memorial fireworks displays, the opportunity to extend our product offering to real rockets was just too good to miss for us and our clients. We find working with Celestis a delight: The team is always charming and they liaise well with our clients.”

Heavens Above Fireworks offers customers fireworks displays that incorporate cremation ashes. Their goal is to create a happier memorable event rather than a traditional funeral memorial. Firework displays often happen several weeks or even months after the traditional funeral ceremony, after the initial grieving period, and offer the family a chance to come together to truly celebrate the life of their loved one.

Fireworks

Mr. Jamieson has worked hard to be the first and foremost company to offer scattering ashes by fireworks. He and those at his company are dedicated to bringing each family they work with a sense of respect for their and their loved one’s wishes. One of their clients called it “the icing on the cake.” The website says it best: “A happier way to say goodbye.”

Having such an excellent distributor in the UK helps Celestis reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise heard of us. It also allows clients in the UK to have a British contact who can address questions and concerns during the decision making process. Mr. Jamieson has also been so kind as to prominently feature Celestis on his own website.

Celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary

Celestis joins Star Trek fans in celebrating the 50th anniversary of this famous science fiction series, which was the brainchild of Celestis participant Gene Roddenberry. On September 8, 1966 the Starship Enterprise began its five decade mission through television and cinema, inspiring people the world over — including many of the people who have flown on Celetsis memorial spaceflights.

Starship Enterprise
The Starship Enterprise studio model used in filming the original 1960s Star Trek television series. Image Credit: National Air and Space Museum
Majel and Gene Roddenberry
Majel and Gene Roddenberry

Celestis was proud to fly Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry on our very first memorial spaceflight, the Founders Flight, an Earth Orbit service mission. On April 21, 1997 Roddenberry joined 1960s icon Timothy Leary and 22 others on a history-making flight into Earth orbit — the very first private memorial spaceflight. The ashes of the 24 people on board the Founders Flight would orbit earth every 90 minutes until their Celestis spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere, blazing like a shooting star in final tribute, on May 20, 2002 northeast of Australia.  Both Gene and Majel Roddenberry will fly on Celestis’ first Voyager Service memorial spaceflight into deep space.

James Doohan
James Doohan Image Credit: Pinterest.com

Star Trek‘s “Mr. Scott” — actor James Doohan — has flown on three Celestis missions. His wife, Wende Doohan, wrote about his participation on Celestis memorial spaceflights:

Jimmy absolutely adored playing the role of Scotty on Star Trek. He promoted space exploration and travel where ever he went. He would have given almost anything to be able to actually go into space. When asked if he would ever ride the Space Shuttle, with a twinkle in his eye he replied, “In a heartbeat!” He finally gets his wish, through the efforts of Space Services, Inc. [the parent company of Celestis].

George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols
James Doohan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 31, 2004. He is pictured here with George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Grace Lee Whitney (back), after the ceremony.

In his tribute to James Doohan published on the Celestis website, Star Trek actor George Takei (“Mr. Sulu”) wrote of Doohan’s Celestis memorial spaceflights:

Jimmy Doohan was a hearty, down-to-earth guy. Now, he will be more than that. He has asked that his remains be shot out to space.

That is so you, Jimmy.

When all of us who loved you look up at the vastness of the twinkling night sky, we’ll know that you are truly there among the stars, beaming down at us from the heavens with that wonderful, sparkling smile of yours.

The Star Trek Starship Enterprise
The Star Trek Enterprise model being filmed by visual effects artist Linwood Dunn in 1966 at Film Effects of Hollywood. Image Credit: National Air and Space Museum
Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart Image Credit: Pinterest.com

Music.com reported on January 20, 2005 that, “Star Trek star Patrick Stewart is planning a funeral fitting his sci-fi past – he wants to be launched into space.  The 64-year-old actor has already decided how he wants to depart the earth, and he plans to use his links with the the show to make sure his send off is a spectacular one…’I think it’s just the drama of being able to leave the Earth like that.”

Star Trek fans flying on Celestis Memorial Spaceflights

While Star Trek stars fly with Celestis among the stars above, so too do ordinary people for whom Star Trek was an important part of life. For example, Eugene Hottinger — a painter from St. Paul, Minnesota — was an avid Star Trek fan. His wife writes in his Celestis biography, “When he learned that some of Gene Roddenberry’s ashes were sent into orbit, he arranged to ‘make it so’ for himself. For the rest of my life, when I look to the heavens, I will be reminded that part of him inhabits ‘Space, The Final Frontier.’” Mr. Hottinger will fly on Celestis’ next Earth Orbit mission, the Heritage Flight.

Read through the biographies of Celestis flight participants and you’ll soon find that many were Star Trek/sci-fans, including Heritage Flight participants:

Whether you make arrangements for yourself or for a deceased loved one, Celestis invites you to consider our unique memorial spaceflight services and, “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Contact us today — our hailing frequencies are always open!

Celestis Firsts

Celestis and its parent company, Space Services, Inc., have repeatedly led the way forward in humanity’s future in space. Among the Celestis Firsts:

Conestoga 1 launch
Launch of Conestoga 1, the first private rocket in space

The first private enterprise to launch a rocket into outer space! On September 9, 1982, Space Services Inc. of America – under the direction of Mercury 7 astronaut Donald K. “Deke” Slayton – made history with the launch of Conestoga 1 from Matagorda Island, Texas. Prior to liftoff, Space Services cleared all regulatory hurdles for the launch, laying the legal foundation for future commercial spaceflights.

Majel and Gene Roddenberry
Majel and Gene Roddenberry. Gene flew on our first memorial spaceflight, and both Gene and Majel will fly on our first deep space Voyager Service mission.

The first private memorial spaceflight! Celestis made history in 1997 when it became the first company to fly people’s ashes into space. The mission, called “The Founders Flight,” carried the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, 1960s icon Timothy Leary and 22 others into Earth orbit.

On April 21, 1997 an Orbital Sciences Corporation Stargazer aircraft took off from the Canary Islands, Spain, carrying a Pegasus launch vehicle with the Celestis payload. After carrying the Pegasus XL booster to an altitude of approximately 38,000 feet, the Stargazer released the winged rocket for a five-second, dramatic free fall before the main engine ignited, powering the three-stage solid fuel vehicle into low Earth orbit.

Celestis Founders Flight launch
Launch of the first Celestis memorial spaceflight, The Founders Flight, April 21, 1997

The individual flight capsules remained within the Celestis spacecraft throughout its orbit and re-entered the atmosphere May 20, 2002 northeast of Australia.  This Celestis Earth Orbit Service launch garnered worldwide media coverage, including the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. The Founders Flight was the first of many Celestis memorial spaceflights to come.

Eugene M. Shoemaker
Eugene M. Shoemaker flew to the Moon on Celestis’ first Luna Service mission

The first lunar burial! Celestis provided its first Luna Service mission by helping friends of noted planetary geologist Dr. Eugene Shoemaker include a symbolic portion of Dr. Shoemaker’s cremated remains on the NASA Lunar Prospector mission launched January 6, 1998 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. On July 31, 1999 the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface inside a permanently shadowed crater near the south lunar pole, creating a permanent monument to Dr. Shoemaker.

Space Services was also the first company to:

  • Sign an agreement with NASA for the use of a national launch range – Wallops Island, Virginia;
  • Receive a contract from NASA for the provision of commercial launch services – Consort 1/Starfire;
  • Develop a commercial land remote sensing venture – Space America; and,
  • File an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a low earth orbit communications satellite constellation – Globesat Express.

Putting Families First

Family hugging
A family shares in the joy of fulfilling their loved one’s spaceflight wish.

Celestis continues to make space history with each of our launches. We’re the only company that has successfully flown memorial spaceflights.  While there are many Celestis Firsts, Celestis puts our clients first. We have been honored to fly more people in space than all of the world’s space agencies combined. As the families that have entrusted us to fulfill their loved ones’ dreams of spaceflight can attest, we treat each of our clients with the utmost respect, keeping them fully informed of launch preparations, and providing them a meaningful and emotionally moving way to honor the lives of their loved ones.  Contact us today to commemorate the life of your departed loved one.

Charles A. Carr

Charles A. Carr
Charles Carr, 1956-1999, “Ad Astra, Charlie”

In the relatively modern fields of space education and space entertainment, few people have contributed more to bringing the vastness of space home to the public than Charles A. Carr.

Charlie was born on January 3, 1956, in Effingham, Illinois. His family moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was a child, and he continued to live and work on the West Coast.

Charlie was always a supporter of the world’s space programs beginning with the Apollo 11 moon landing he watched as a child. In college he majored in astronomy at the University of Southern California. There he helped to develop the space education program at the California Museum of Science & Industry (CMSI) at Exposition Park.

At CMSI Charlie developed the traveling Flying Museum that was housed in a DC-3 aircraft. He also oversaw the design and construction of the new CMSI IMAX theater that opened in 1984, and presided over numerous statewide science fairs.

Always the educator and space activist, Charlie was involved with many grassroots organizations that supported making space travel accessible to everyone. Some of these groups included The World Space Foundation, The Orange County Space Society, the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, and The Space Tourism Society.

Since the mid-1980s, Charlie was deeply involved in the conceptual design of space-related projects, including programs that blended the concept of space education, entertainment, and space tourism. His “edutainment” projects toured the country and were features at popular locations such as Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags Theme Parks, and the Queen Mary. Several of these projects included a full-scale space shuttle model, the first ever in a touring exhibit.

Charlie’s daughter Christa, named for the teacher lost on the space shuttle Challenger, was often his companion on stargazing and meteor shower adventures. She adored her father for his ready smile and hugs, his instant spinning of a fanciful bedtime story, and his sense of wonder and adventure.

When Christa packed some of his ashes for transport aboard the Celestis mission, she said she hoped that some of the ashes were from her daddy’s heart because his heart loved space so much. Now she will gaze at the skies after dark, as they used to do together. Perhaps she’ll see a shooting star that could be her daddy soaring free through the night, lighting up the sky the way he illuminated her life, and so many others.

Charlie departed this life too soon and too young on August 20, 1999. He was a gifted, highly intelligent, articulate man who was a loving son, husband, and father. He was often called “a gentle giant” by his many friends and associates. As we draw closer to the day when space travel is available to everyone, we will surely be riding on the shoulders of that gentle giant.

Ad Astra, Charlie. You are loved and you are missed. Someday we hope to catch up with you in space.


Charles A. Carr was a participant on Celestis’ third Earth Orbit Service memorial spaceflight, The Millennial Flight.

The First Lunar Burial

Dr. Eugene Shoemaker
Dr. Eugene Shoemaker posing next to a model of the Apollo lunar lander. Image Credit: NASA

Celestis’s first lunar burial occurred on July 31, 1999.  Celestis helped friends of noted planetary geologist Dr. Eugene Shoemaker include a symbolic portion of his remains on the NASA Lunar Prospector mission launched January 6, 1998.

The spacecraft impacted the lunar surface inside a permanently shadowed crater near the south lunar pole, creating a permanent monument to Dr. Shoemaker. Impact occurred at 4:52 a.m. CDT (9:52 a.m. GMT), July 31, 1999.

Three craters at the Moon’s south pole named after geographer Arnaldo Faustini, Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker.
Three craters at the Moon’s south pole named after geographer Arnaldo Faustini, Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker.

Dr. Shoemaker, a pioneer in the exploration of the solar system, had longed to go to the Moon as an Apollo astronaut and study its geology firsthand. A medical condition diagnosed in the early 1960s prevented him from doing so. Dr. Shoemaker went on to help select and train Apollo astronauts in lunar geology and impact cratering. He also worked on NASA’s Lunar Ranger and Surveyor programs. His achievements in these areas earned him the United States’ highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science in 1992. He became world-renowned when he, his wife Carolyn, and astronomer David Levy discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which impacted the planet Jupiter in July 1994. Quoting from his NASA biography, “His many honors included the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1965, election to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1980, the Gilbert Award of the Geological Society of America in 1983 and the Kuiper Prize of the American Astronomical Society in 1984.”

Lunar Prospector
NASA’s Lunar Prospector

Lunar Prospector was one of the most productive, least expensive space missions in history. Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, Lunar Prospector served as a follow-on to the successful Clementine mission. In fact, Dr. Shoemaker served on the Clementine science team. In 1994, the Clementine spacecraft orbiting the Moon made observations that indicated the presence of water ice on the lunar surface. On March 5, 1998, it was announced that Lunar Prospector had also found evidence suggesting the presence of water ice at both lunar poles.

The presence of water ice on the Moon would facilitate future attempts at lunar colonization. How fitting that, via the first lunar burial, Dr. Eugene Shoemaker participated in one last experiment — an experiment that could benefit our future in space.


Learn more about the Celestis Luna Service.

 

Eugene M. Shoemaker

Eugene M. Shoemaker
Eugene M. Shoemaker
April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997

Celestis provided its first Luna Service mission by helping friends of noted planetary geologist Dr. Eugene M. Shoemaker include a symbolic portion of Dr. Shoemaker’s remains on the NASA Lunar Prospector mission launched January 6, 1998.

The spacecraft impacted the lunar surface inside a permanently shadowed crater near the south lunar pole, creating a permanent monument to Dr. Shoemaker. Impact occurred at 4:52 a.m. CDT (9:52 a.m. GMT), July 31, 1999.

Dr. Eugene M. Shoemaker, a pioneer in the exploration of the Solar System, had longed to go to the Moon as an Apollo astronaut and study its geology firsthand. A medical condition diagnosed in the early 1960s prevented him from doing so. Dr. Shoemaker went on to help select and train Apollo astronauts in lunar geology and impact cratering. His achievements in these areas earned him the United States’ highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science in 1992. He became world-renowned when he, his wife Carolyn, and astronomer David Levy discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which impacted the planet Jupiter in July 1994.

Lunar Prospector
Lunar Prospector Image Credit: NASA

Lunar Prospector was one of the most productive, least expensive space missions. Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, Lunar Prospector served as a follow-on to the successful Clementine mission of 1994. In 1994, the Clementine spacecraft orbiting the Moon made observations that indicated the presence of water ice on the lunar surface. On March 5, 1998, it was announced that Lunar Prospector had also found evidence suggesting the presence of water ice at both lunar poles.

The presence of water ice on the Moon would facilitate future attempts at lunar colonization. How fitting that Dr. Eugene Shoemaker participated in one last experiment — an experiment that could benefit our future in space.


Listen to an interview with Carolyn Shoemaker about how fitting her husband’s lunar burial was.

The next Celestis Luna Service mission is projected to launch next year.

 

Gerard K. O’Neill

Gerard K. O'Neill
Gerard K. O’Neill, 1927-1992, “Your wish is fulfilled”

History often accords to a selected individual the role of catalyst, the spark who creates a social, political, or economic paradigm shift. Surely Gerry O’Neill was such an individual.

Dr. O’Neill was an accomplished experimental physicist, successful entrepreneur, pilot, inventor, astronaut candidate, devoted family member, and gifted professor who constantly challenged and inspired his students.

Indeed, it was a class exercise — first year physics at Princeton University — which started Dr. O’Neill on a path that would ultimately lead him to establish the modern conceptual, theoretical, and technical foundation for the large-scale human colonization of space.

During the course of this work he wrote several books, including the award-winning The High Frontier; served as an adviser to NASA and the Congress and as a member of the President’s National Commission on Space; and founded the Space Studies Institute (Princeton) to support the scientific research required to carry out his vision.

Today, Gerry O’Neill’s legacy continues through his Space Studies Institute and through the lives of people around the world who were touched by his message — and who consequently are devoting their lives to the extension of humanity into space.

“…I think there is reason to hope that the opening of a new, high frontier will challenge the best that is in us, that the new lands waiting to be built in space will give us new freedom to search for better governments, social systems, and ways of life, and that our children may thereby find a world richer in opportunity by our efforts during the decades ahead.”

–G.K. O’Neill, The High Frontier, 1976

“(Gerry’s) brilliance, his reason, his drive, and his creativity each garnered his well-deserved renown. But I respected him most, and will remember him best, for his commitment to fairness and equity.”

–Richard J. Pinto , May 1992

“Gerry O’Neill was a man of great vision, courage, and intelligence – a type too often in short supply in this world. His dramatic and inspiring descriptions of future space colonies challenged us to confront the gap (often maddeningly wide) between technical capacity and political will. Through his research, business pursuits and educational programs, he did much to sustain our vision of a bold, space-faring future.”

–Kathryn D. Sullivan, May 1992


Gerard K. O’Neill flew on the first Celestis Memorial Spaceflight, The Founders Flight.

NASA memorial spaceflight that carried astronomer to Pluto

On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto, carrying a small amount of the ashes of American astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh, along with the dreams of all who, like this Kansas farm boy, gazed toward the heavens in the name of exploration and discovery. New Horizons, the first mission to Pluto, provided the closest look ever at the ninth planet while completing the initial reconnaissance of the solar system.

When Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930, he opened the gateway to an unknown region of ancient, icy objects unlike any worlds in our solar system — and touched off a revolution in our understanding of Earth’s ever-expanding planetary neighborhood. Continue reading “NASA memorial spaceflight that carried astronomer to Pluto”

Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse

Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse
Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse, 1929-1991, “To dwell among the stars!”

Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse’s passing went by with little notice by this world, save for a handful of family members and a small contingent from the tennis/curling club to which he belonged. Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse was not renowned for anything in particular, nor accomplished in some noteworthy endeavor. However, he did make a difference in the lives of his three children and three grandchildren; and as such, left a priceless legacy.

He was a rather stoic and extremely private man – rarely given to outbursts of emotion. He was also a proud man who tried to live his dream until the dream was all that was left to him. He held inside of himself a spark and a vision that he passed on to his children. In the grand cosmic scheme of things he was an ordinary man who dreamed of a greater life. And that life was to be lived among the stars!

Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse was born in AngerMeunde, Germany and moved to Toronto, Canada in 1955. As a young man, he was always fascinated with space exploration. His dream then was to help build the engines that would send jets and rockets into space – so a part of him would be up there as well. This noble goal, however, was not to be, but he never lost sight of this dream. He followed the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects very closely and with each launch a part of him went along for the ride. One of his greatest sorrows was Canada’s loss of the Avro Arrow from which Canada would “never fully recover.”

Though unassuming, his early life was marked with hardship during the war and tragedy with the loss of his parents at age ten. He found work as a coal-miner and saved his money until he had earned enough to come to Canada. The prime of his life was spent “Doing the right thing” by his family, which kept him away from his home as well as his dream. He enjoyed the few times when he could take his kids for trips to various open fields in order to launch their rockets and experimental vehicles. He enjoyed “Star Trek” and found a kindred spirit in the lives of those explorers. He began consuming science fiction novels by the “Thewsands.”

His later years were spent building models, puttering around in his garden, exploring culinary adventures; and of course, enjoying the company of his small circle of friends and family.

Thanks to Celestis, we can now, a decade after his passing, honor his wish and fulfill his life-long dream by sending him to the stars that were always his real home.

His spark is alive in those who remember and still love him. We still miss you very much, Dad.

With all our love,

Frank, Ron, Monica, Jessica, Nate, Eric (and Tara)


Klaus Karl Rheinhold Ernst Sachse flew on two Celestis Memorial Spaceflights:

  • The Legacy Flight from Spaceport America, New Mexico
  • The New Frontier Flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida