The Goddard Flight

When Celestis launched its 10th memorial spaceflight from Spaceport America, New Mexico in May 2011 the company decided to name the mission “The Goddard Flight” in honor of Robert Goddard, a famous American space pioneer.

The Goddard Flight is named after Robert Goddard
American rocketry pioneer Robert H. Goddard and his first liquid-fueled rocket, March 16, 1926.

Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocket propulsion, spent a dozen years in New Mexico developing and testing his rocket designs. So when Celestis launched its 10th memorial spaceflight from Spaceport America, New Mexico in May 2011 the company decided to name the mission The Goddard Flight in honor of this famous American space pioneer.

Celestis’ Spaceport America launches fly on a suborbital trajectory, like Alan Shepard’s historic May 1961 suborbital spaceflight when Shepard became the first American to fly in space. Like other Celestis Earth Rise service missions, the Goddard Flight flew into space, remained above Earth’s atmosphere for several minutes, and then returned to Earth. After the flight the Celestis payload was recovered, validated as having reached space, and each flown capsule – still containing its ashes – was returned to each family as a keepsake.

Celestis Spaceport America launch pad tourLaunch Pad Tour
Families tour the launch pad at Spaceport America the day prior to a Celestis Earth Rise launch.Attending the LaunchAttending a Launch

Attending a Celestis launch at Spaceport America is an unforgettable experience! Families tour the launch pad and mission control – a privilege that Celestis cannot always arrange for families at other launch venues.  The day prior to liftoff Celestis conducts a non-sectarian memorial service where families share memories of their departed loved ones: These services are always beautiful, emotionally moving experiences that make for lifelong memories. Attendees also tour Spaceport America and see the facilities Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company will use for space tourist spaceflights. Moreover, families enjoy the beauty and wonder of New Mexico, and readily appreciate why the state is known as “the Land of Enchantment.”

Besides the launch and related activities at Spaceport America, Celestis publishes on its website the biographies of the people on board each of its memorial spaceflights. In addition to the flown capsule that is returned to each family, the flight’s online biographies provide a lasting tribute to the people whose dreams of spaceflight were fulfilled by their families through Celestis.

Reservations are open for the next Celestis Earth Rise mission, The Starseeker Flight. Celestis families will travel to New Mexico, visit the rocket and mission control, attend the Celestis memorial service, and experience the excitement of liftoff from Spaceport America! Contact us for more information…

Learn more about Robert Goddard…


The Original Celestis

Conestoga 1 launch - the original Celestis company wanted to fly on SSIA's rockets
Launch of Conestoga 1, the first private rocket in space, by Space Services Inc. of America

With 14 memorial spaceflights to date, we have flown more people in space than all the world’s space agencies combined. But did you know that there have been two Celestis companies?

In the 1980s a Melbourne, Florida company called “The Celestis Group” wanted to fly human ashes on board a launch vehicle provided by Space Services Inc. of America, which conducted the first private launch into space in 1982. Though ultimately unsuccessful in launching the company, by proving that people all over the world were interested in memorial spaceflights this pioneering effort laid the groundwork for today’s Celestis, Inc., which was formed in 1994 by two former employees of Space Services Inc. of America.

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

Indeed, among the 24 people on board the first Celestis memorial spaceflight in 1997 were two of the three space entrepreneurs who formed the original company.

Beauford Franklin was a mechanical engineer who worked for Lockheed and United Technologies on such projects as the U.S. Air Force Titan IIIC rocket program, the Navy Polaris missile program, and NASA’s space shuttle.

James Kuhl served as a combat pilot in World War II, flying P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs in 100 missions over Europe. He would retire from the Air Force Reserve as a Lt. Colonel.

Both gentlemen dipped into the future with their vision of memorial spaceflight, foreseeing a time when the heavens would thrive with commerce. So it was only flitting that they would be among the first of many aerospace professionals who have flown on Celestis missions.

The experienced professionals at today’s Celestis stand ready to help you commemorate the life of a departed loved one, or prearrange a memorial spaceflight for yourself.

Contact us for more information…