Leaving Earth to touch the cosmos is an experience few have ever known, but many have often dreamed of. Celestis makes it possible to honor the dream and memory of your departed loved one by launching a symbolic portion of cremated remains into Earth orbit, onto the lunar surface or into deep space. Missions into space that return the cremated remains to Earth are also available.
A significant “first” for Space Services Inc. of America was its receipt of the first ever “mission approval” fr om the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (then housed within the U.S. Department of Transportation, today within the Federal Aviation Administration).
The Celestis Group of Melbourne, Florida was licensed in 1984 by OCST to fly a unique payload aboard SSI’s Conestoga vehicle – cremated human remains. While ultimately unable to conduct the launch, the Celestis Group proved that people all over the world sought memorial spaceflights for themselves and their loved ones.
In 1994, former SSI employees Charles M. Chafer and R. Chan Tysor founded a new company, Celestis, Inc., and announced an agreement with Orbital Sciences Corporation to launch cremated human remains as secondary payloads aboard Orbital’s Pegasus ™ and Taurus ™ launch vehicles.
Celestis Inc.’s Founders Flight (April 1997) inaugurated the era of memorial spaceflights and included Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, 1960s icon Dr. Timothy Leary, and Princeton University physicist Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill among the 24 pioneers aboard.
Celestis has accomplished six space missions, including – at NASA’s request – the launch of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker on a memorial flight to the moon. Celestis' most recent launch -- the Legacy Flight -- included legendary Star Trek actor James Doohan ("Scotty"), writer/producer John Meredyth Lucas, Mercury 7 Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, and over 200 others. Celestis flights have honored the lives of people fr om the US, Japan, Great Britain, Denmark, The Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, China, and Germany.
Celestis helps families honor the memory of loved ones through unique, post-cremation memorial spaceflights.
Celestis, Inc. is an affiliate company of Space Services, Inc., a Houston, Texas-based aerospace company and a leader in public participation spaceflight.
Our heritage encompasses nearly 30 years of global leadership in private sector space missions and applications including:
- the first ever private launch into outer space (1982),
- the first private, post-cremation memorial spaceflight (1997),
- the first lunar burial (1999)
- That we are entrusted by our clients to treat their loved one’s cremated remains with the utmost dignity and respect: We view this as a sacred trust.
- In environmentally benign, noninvasive commercial development of the space frontier: We therefore ensure that our payloads of cremated remains are not “scattered” in space or otherwise contribute to orbital debris.
- That in addition to commemorating the lives of our clients’ departed loved ones, our successful aerospace venture helps support the vision of a robust future for humanity in space.
Since our first launch of 1960s icon Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in 1997, Celestis has been the subject of countless news stories in such media outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, the BBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, Space.com, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Times of London, Forbes, Wired, Le Monde, China Daily, USA Today, and many other newspapers, Web sites, magazines, radio and television stations.
Celestis was co-founded and is led by Charles M. Chafer, an internationally recognized high technology entrepreneur and pioneer of the commercial space age. Mr. Chafer has testified before Congress on commercial space issues, participated in White House working groups on space policy, is regularly profiled in international print and visual media, and has published numerous articles in the field.
We trace our corporate roots to two companies: Space Services Inc. of America and the Celestis Group of Melbourne, Florida. Read more about the histories of Space Services Inc. of America and Celestis. We also invite you to learn about our non-profit Celestis Foundation.
Memorial Spaceflights place a symbolic portion of cremated remains into Earth orbit, onto the lunar surface, and into deep space. Missions into space that return the cremated remains to Earth are also available. Your loved one will venture into space as part of a real space mission, riding alongside a commercial or scientific satellite.
Memorial Spaceflights are made possible through agreements with leading providers of commercial space launch services. All services include a performance assurance guarantee. Performance assurance means that in the event the mission is not achieved, you will have the option for a priority re-flight, at no additional cost, on the next scheduled launch of the same service type.
Earth Rise service affordably launches a symbolic portion of cremated remains to space, and after experiencing the zero gravity environment, returns the individual flight capsules and modules back to Earth (click here for the mission trajectory).
After a successful flight, the Earth Rise payload, including flown flight capsules and modules, is recovered, validated as having reached space, and the capsule or module is returned to the family or loved one as a keepsake.
The next Earth Rise Service mission, The Goddard Flight, is projected to occur May 20, 2011 from Spaceport America.
The Earth Orbit service affordably launches a symbolic portion of cremated remains to space, aboard the Celestis spacecraft. Your loved one will venture into space as part of a real space mission, riding alongside a commercial or scientific satellite.
The Celestis spacecraft is placed in Earth orbit wh ere it remains until it reenters the atmosphere harmlessly vaporizing like a blazing shooting star in final tribute.
The length of time the spacecraft remains in orbit depends on a variety of factors: orbital altitude, coordinates, etc. Previous Celestis missions are estimated to remain in Earth orbit between 10 years to 240 years. Specific launch information is provided to you after the launch occurs and the spacecraft completes one successful orbit.
Track Celestis Spacecraft Currently Orbiting Earth
Celestis announcs our agreement with Odyssey Moon Lim ited and Astrobotic Technology, Inc. to launch payloads containing human cremated remains to the suface of the Moon as early as 2012/2013. Astrobotic Technology has signed a contract with SpaceX for a lunar mission that could launch as soon as December 2013. Read more...
The Luna Service reaches out to Earth’s nearest neighbor for a uniquely compelling location to remember a special life.
This service was inaugurated in 1999 when, at the request of NASA, Celestis assisted the colleagues and loved ones of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker to place a portion of his cremated remains aboard the NASALunar Prospector mission.
Please feel free to call or e-mail Celestis, Inc. if you have any questions.