Throughout the Space Age, suborbital flight has been the least exciting segment of the launch market. Operating in the shadow of their much larger orbital cousins, sounding rockets carrying scientific instruments, microgravity experiments and technology demonstrations have flown to the fringes of space with little fanfare or media attention.
The suborbital sector has become much more dynamic in recent years now that billionaires have started spending money in it. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic both made significant progress last year in testing New Shepard and SpaceShipTwo, respectively. Their achievements have raised the real possibility of suborbital space tourism flights in 2019. (I know. Promises, promises…. But, this year they might finally really do it. I think.)
HOUSTON, September 9, 2014 (SSHI PR) —Space Services Holdings, Inc. (SSHI) of Houston, Texas, today announced the acquisition of Odyssey Moon Ltd. and the addition of key industry veterans to its Board of Directors, signaling an ambitious expansion in the global commercial space market.
Space Services, already an established space industry leader with its iconic Celestis memorial spaceflights, makes these announcements on the heels of exclusive commercial partnerships with NASA and NOAA for the Sunjammer solar sail mission. The acquisition of Odyssey Moon, an Isle of Man headquartered company, situates Space Services as an emerging global pioneer in commercial lunar missions as well.
HOUSTON (Celestis PR) — Celestis announces the opportunity to honor your special animal companion with a final journey among the stars on board the world’s first pet memorial spaceflight service.
Celestis Pets places a symbolic portion of cremated remains into Earth orbit, deep space, and onto the lunar surface. Missions that return the cremated remains to Earth are available as part of our Earth Rise service.
Your best friend will venture into space as part of a real mission, riding alongside selected commercial and scientific satellites. Choose from the options below.
It looks like space memorial service Celestis is getting some competition.
A new memorial service called Elysium Space is offering to send the ashes of your loved ones into orbit for $1,990 — less than half the $4,995 that Celestis is charging for a similar service.
Elysium’s website says that the first memorial flight is set to take off next summer as a secondary payload to a much larger spacecraft. The Elysium spacecraft is expected to stay in orbit from several months to a couple of years before re-entering the atmosphere. The company doesn’t indicate which launch providers it will be contracting with for flight services.
The company was founded by Thomas Civeit, whom the website describes as having had “extensive experience in space mission operations at NASA, notably including the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Huygens interplanetary probe. He received multiple NASA awards for his work.”
LAS CRUCES, NM (NMSA PR) — The New Mexico Spaceport Authority is excited to host a NASA Flight Opportunities Program launch conducted by UP Aerospace, Inc., at the Spaceport America Vertical Launch Complex on Friday, June 21. This will be the first sub-orbital NASA Flight Opportunities Program launch, and the 19th overall launch from Spaceport America.
The sub-orbital sounding rocket launch is part of the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, which is designed to provide suborbital payload launch opportunities for NASA and other government agencies, as well as for educational institutions and the private sector.
AUSTIN, TX, JULY 18, 2012 (TXA PR) – The Texas Space Alliance (TXA) and the office of the Speaker of the House are pleased to announce the meeting in Austin between Governor Rick Perry and numerous representatives of the nation’s top new commercial space firms. The TXA team brought together representatives from SpaceX, XCOR Aerospace, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), Armadillo Aerospace, NanoRacks, Celestis, and ATK Liberty to talk about the needs of Commercial Space, and what Texas can do to fully embrace and nurture this vital, fledgling new industry.
Virginia has been aggressive in coming up with tax incentives for commercial space companies to locate within the Commonwealth. The latest one not only reaches beyond the Earth but beyond the grave as well: (Cue spooky Halloween music)
Individual income tax deduction for certain purchases from space flight entities. Provides an individual income tax deduction in the amount paid for a prepaid contract entered into with a commercial space flight entity to place the taxpayer’s cremated remains in earth or lunar orbit. The deduction shall not exceed $8,000 in total and shall not exceed $2,500 in any one tax year. The bill is effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, but before January 1, 2021.
That is a summary of a bill introduced by Del. Terry G. Kilgore. The catch is that the flights must take place from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island. Memorial flights from spaceports outside of Virginia are not eligible.
A Texas company, Celestis, is the only company I know of to offer these services. Celestis has launched remains into space on orbital and suborbital rockets from various spaceports over the years.
STARFLEET, the oldest U.S.-based Star Trekâ„¢ and science fiction fan organization with thousands of members worldwide, announced today a partnership with Space Services Inc., an aerospace company based in Houston, Texas.
A leader in public participation spaceflight, Space Services is a company whose heritage encompasses nearly 30 years of leadership in private sector space missions and applications. Space Services’ affiliate company, Celestis, Inc., opened the space frontier to post cremation memorials in 1997 with the Founders Flight, sending 24 flight capsules into Earth orbit aboard a Pegasus rocket.
Ashes of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry and his actress wife will blast toward the far reaches of the cosmos in keeping with the show’s famed opening line “Space, the final frontier.”
Majel Roddenberry died in December, two months before her 77th birthday, and will posthumously fulfill a “dream of journeying through space with her husband,” according to Celestis Inc, the US company behind the memorial flight.
Celestis sent some of Gene Roddenberry’s ashes into orbit around the earth in a premier Founders Flight rocket launch in 1997.
A US funeral business that specializes in launching cremated human remains into Earth’s orbit has begun taking reservations for landing small capsules of ashes on the moon, announced the company’s founder.
“Celestis’ first general public lunar mission could occur as early as 2010 and reservations are now being taken,” said Charles M. Chafer, Celestis founder and president, in an email to AFP. “We can send up to 5000 individual capsules to the lunar surface.”
For transportation, Celestis has made deals with two other US private space companies, Odyssey Moon and Astrobotic Technology, which are currently working on making commercial flights to the moon.
Saturday’s failure of SpaceX’s Falcon 1 launch vehicle did more than destroy three small satellites. It also sent the ashes of Mercury astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr., Star Trek actor James “Scotty” Doohan and 206 other people into the Pacific Ocean instead of orbit.
The remains were placed aboard the rocket through a Texas-based company called Celestis. A spokeswoman, Susan Schonfeld, told The New York Times that the company would re-fly the remains of all 208 people using backup samples.
This launch marked the second effort to send Doohan’s and Cooper’s ashes into space; last year, they were launched aboard an UP Aerospace suborbital rocket in New Mexico. The payload containing the ashes was lost for about three weeks in the rugged mountains before being recovered in good shape.
One of Doohan’s seven children, Ehrich Blackhound, said he has had enough. He wrote an eloquent piece on Boing Boing saying that each launch opens an unhealed wound.
Celestis will launch the ashes of 208 people into orbit aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket in June. The flight, which will be launched out of the Marshall Islands, will be the seventh and largest memorial flight undertaken by the Houston-based company. There is more information at the Space Frontier Foundation website.
SpaceX, based in El Segundo, Calif., is hoping that the third time is a charm for their low-cost rocket. Two previous Falcon 1 launch attempts have failed; the first exploded shortly after takeoff, while the second reached space but failed to put its payload into orbit.
Grieving family members and relatives will be able to send their loved ones’ ashes into lunar orbit or even to the surface under an agreement between Celestis and Odyssey Moon.
The agreement provides Houston-based Celestis with payload space aboard Odyssey Moon’s planned lunar landers and orbiters. Ashes will be contained in small individual canisters in a payload module.
Odyssey Moon, based in the Isle of Man, was founded last year. The company is competing in the Google Lunar X Prize to land a rover on the moon, but it also plans to launch of series of lunar landers and orbiters.
“The thrill and joy Celestis provides touched me personally when my dear friend and International Space University co-founder Todd Hawley reached his dream of spaceflight in 1997,” said Dr. Robert Richards, CEO of Odyssey Moon. “We welcome the opportunity to support Celestis and continue their uniquely compelling service to the Moon.”
Hawley’s ashes were aboard Celestis’ first flight. The company also assisted NASA in placing the ashes of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker aboard the Lunar Prospector spacecraft. Controllers intentionally crashed the orbiter at the lunar south pole when its mission ended on July 31, 1999.