Watch Our Video About The Celestis Experience

The Conestoga Flight Video

We invite you to watch this beautiful video showing what families and friends of those on board Celestis’ Conestoga Flight experienced as they fulfilled their departed loved ones’ dreams of spaceflight at Spaceport America in October 2014.  You’ll see the non-sectarian memorial service where families and friends of those on board the mission shared their memories of their departed loved ones.  You’ll see the families touring the launch pad and mission control.  You’ll see the launch from the striking setting of the New Mexican desert.  And you’ll see families reacting to the launch they’ve just witnessed. Continue reading “Watch Our Video About The Celestis Experience”

Celestis in Pop Culture

Majel Roddenberry with Celestis, CEO Charles Chafer
Star Trek‘s Majel Roddenberry with Celestis CEO Charles Chafer

Being the only private company to have conducted memorial spaceflights — with over 1,000 participants flown so far — Celestis is widely known for its unique service for honoring departed loved ones.  As a result, Celestis has often been featured in popular culture.

Celestis gained worldwide notice with its very first memorial spaceflight — The Founders Flight, which was launched into space in April 1997.  Major media outlets around the world covered the story.  See, for example, the New York Times‘ front page article.  The New Yorker magazine published a cartoon about the launch.  Pop culture icon Timothy Leary, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and 22 others were on board this mission.  The flight was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, and was even added to the popular board game Trivial Pursuit.

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 hit show to make sure his send off is a spectacular one. — ContactMusic.com, Jan. 17, 2005

Amelie movie poster
Poster for the 2001 French movie Amelie, which includes a reference to the Celestis space burial service

With the many Celestis missions flown since the Founders Flight, Celestis has gained high profile endorsements over the years.  Noted personalities from U.S. Senator John Glenn to actress Susan Sarandon have recommended Celestis to friends and constituents.  Actors including Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, and Tom Hanks have announced their own interest in a space funeral.  Star Trek actor James Doohan has flown on three Celestis missions, and will be on a future Celestis Voyager Service mission into deep space. Joining him on that mission will be Star Trek‘s Gene and Majel Roddenberry.  Movies, including the award winning French film Amelie, have made references to the Celestis Memorial Spaceflight service.  Popular music from country and western to electronica has been composed and released highlighting the Celestis service.  Our CEO, Charles Chafer, even appeared on the popular game show To Tell the Truth.

But you don’t have to be a celebrity to use the Celestis service.  The overwhelming majority of Celestis memorial spaceflight participants were everyday people who typically had an interest in space exploration, science fiction, astronomy … or just lived life to the fullest!  For more information about arranging a memorial spaceflight for yourself or a loved one, contact us today.

Can I prearrange a space funeral?

Couple holding hands on a beach
© Can Stock Photo

You’re fascinated with the idea of arranging to have your ashes launched into space, but you’re asking, “Can I prearrange a space funeral?”  The short answer is, “Yes!”

Prearranging a funeral is a smart choice.  You ensure that your wishes will be honored.  Prearrangment also relieves your family of anguishing over what would be the most appropriate way to honor your life.  With a preneed space funeral contract you lock in the price of your space burial: You need not worry about future price increases.  What’s more, it’s simple to arrange.  Prearranged funerals and memorial services are an increasingly popular option.

With Celestis, you can arrange to have your cremated remains launched into Earth orbit, to the Moon, or into deep space.  Celestis can even fly your ashes into space and parachute them back to Earth: Your cremated remains will be returned to your family, still encapsulated in the spaceflight hardware that flew in space.

Celestis provides a preneed contract for each of its space burial services.  You can download the contract from the Celestis website.  Carefully review the contract with your family: This is a good way to ensure your family will clearly know your wishes when the time comes.  You might also want to express your wishes for final disposition in your will.

A 10-20% deposit locks in the price of the memorial spaceflight service you choose.  You can make periodic payments toward the balance of the contract, use insurance to pay for the balance of the service, or your estate can pay the balance owed at the time of need.  Celestis offers a 10% discount for veterans. You can cancel at any time.  Your money is deposited into a Trust account with the Houston branch of ClearPoint Federal Bank & Trust.  This account is audited annually.  In fact, Celestis received the highest ranking from the Texas Department of Banking, which audited Celestis’ preneed account on April 7, 2014.

Finally, consider attending a Celestis memorial spaceflight launch!  Celestis launches from a variety of locations.  Bring your family and friends and experience the excitement of liftoff!

For more information, contact Celestis at celestis.com/contact.asp.

The Goddard Flight’s Namesake

Robert Goddard
Robert Goddard

The Goddard Flight, Celestis’ tenth memorial spaceflight, was named in honor of Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard, who is considered to be the father of modern rocket propulsion, and who conducted much of his pioneering research near Roswell, New Mexico. A physicist of great insight, Goddard also had a unique genius for invention.  Given Celestis’ innovative use of rocket technology to launch cremated remains into space from Spaceport America, it is only fitting that we paid tribute to this aerospace pioneer and longtime New Mexico resident.

Born October 5, 1882 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Goddard developed his interest in space and astronomy at an early age, inspired in part by H.G. Wells’ sci-fi classic, War of the Worlds, and by his parents, who provided young Robert a telescope and otherwise encouraged him to pursue a scientific career.  Goddard studied at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Clark University, earning his Ph.D. in 1911.  In 1914, Goddard received two U.S. patents. One was for a rocket using liquid fuel. The other was for a two or three stage rocket using solid fuel.  Note that The Goddard Flight carried the ashes of Earth Rise service participants into space on board a solid fuel rocket.

Goddard in group photo in NM
Standing in front of the rocket in the launch tower near Roswell, New Mexico on September 23, 1935, are (left to right): Albert Kisk, Goddard’s brother-in-law and machinist; Harry F. Guggenheim; Dr. Robert H. Goddard; Col. Charles A. Lindbergh and N.T. Ljungquist, machinist. Charles Lindbergh, an advocate for Goddard and his research, helped secure a grant from the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation in 1930. With that money Goddard and his wife moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where he could conduct research and launch rockets while avoiding the scrutiny and criticism of his colleagues and the press. Photo Credit: NASA

At his own expense, Goddard began to make systematic studies about propulsion provided by various types of gunpowder. His classic document was a study he wrote in 1916 requesting funds from the Smithsonian Institution so that he could continue his research. This was later published along with his subsequent research in a famous January 1920 report to the Smithsonian Institution entitled “A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes.”  In this treatise, Goddard detailed his search for methods of raising weather recording instruments higher than sounding balloons. In this search, he developed the mathematical theories of rocket propulsion.

Robert Goddard
Dr. Robert Goddard and his liquid oxygen-gasoline rocket in the frame from which it was fired on March 16, 1926, at Auburn, Mass.

Towards the end of his 1920 report, Goddard outlined the possibility of a rocket reaching the moon and exploding a load of flash powder there to mark its arrival.  The press picked up the story and severely criticized Goddard. For example, in its January 13, 1920 issue, The New York Times tore into Goddard, arguing that he, “… does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react…. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.”  The widespread public ridicule culminated in his being nicknamed “The Moon Man.”

By 1926, Goddard had constructed and successfully launched the first rocket using liquid fuel. Indeed, the flight of Goddard’s rocket on March 16, 1926, at Auburn, Massachusetts was as significant to history as that of the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk.

Goddard’s greatest engineering contributions were made during his work in the 1920s and 1930s. He received a total of $10,000 from the Smithsonian by 1927, and through the personal efforts of famed American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, he subsequently received financial support from the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation, which financed his research in New Mexico.  Goddard spent a dozen years near Roswell, New Mexico with the support of the Guggenheim Foundation, further developing and testing his rocket designs.

While Goddard’s rocket work made little impression on American government officials of the 1920s and 1930s, German rocket scientists paid close attention: Goddard’s research largely anticipated in technical detail the later German V-2 missiles, including gyroscopic control, steering by means of vanes in the jet stream of the rocket motor, gimbal-steering, power-driven fuel pumps and other devices.  Indeed, Goddard inspected several captured V-2’s in 1945, confirming that the Germans had used his designs.  Goddard died later that same year from throat cancer.

Robert Goddard’s contributions to missilery and spaceflight would make a lengthy list.  Here are some of Dr. Goddard’s firsts:

  • Explored the practicality of using rocket propulsion to reach high altitudes and even the moon (1912)
  • Proved that a rocket will work in a vacuum, that it needs no air to push against
  • Developed and demonstrated the basic idea of the “bazooka” two days before the Armistice in 1918 at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
  • Developed and launched a liquid fuel rocket (March 16, 1926, Auburn, Mass.)
  • Launched a scientific payload in a rocket flight (1929, Auburn, Mass.)
  • Used vanes in rocket motor blast for guidance (1932, New Mexico)
  • Developed a gyro control apparatus for rocket flight (1932, New Mexico)
  • Received U.S. patent in idea of multi-stage rocket (1914)
  • Developed pumps suitable for rocket fuels
  • Launched a rocket with a motor pivoted on gimbals under the influence of a gyro

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the Goddard Crater (located on the Moon’s eastern limb) and The Goddard Flight are all named in honor of this hero of space history.


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