When it comes to helping families around the world commemorate their departed loved ones, Celestis is the pioneer and iconic global leader in providing memorial spaceflights. They’ve commissioned 17 missions over the past twenty years, with their next one scheduled for early 2021.
The Celestis Horizon Flight is the company’s eighth orbital space burial (the Earth Orbit Service) and will carry aerospace grade aluminum flight capsules with cremated remains and DNA samples. Once launched, family and friends of the more than one hundred loved ones can track the Horizon Flight (www.celestis.com) as it joins other Celestis memorial spaceflights currently orbiting Earth.
Celestis contracted with Seattle-based Spaceflight Inc. to transport the Horizon Flight container holding flight capsules filled with cremated remains to space. The mission, called SXRS-3 by Spaceflight, will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, Florida no earlier than January 2021.
“We are pleased to be aboard the Spaceflight Sherpa-FX carrier craft and look forward to launch,” said Celestis Co-founder and CEO Charles M. Chafer. “Spaceflight offers a convenient, cost-effective, and very responsive option for Celestis and a host of other payloads – filling an important function for emerging space businesses.”
Celestis purchased available room on a spacecraft from Spaceflight as a “hosted payload” on Spaceflight’s Sherpa-FX orbital transfer vehicle. The Sherpa deployment system separates completely from the launch vehicle before deploying 14 other Spaceflight customer satellites, with satellite separations initiated by onboard avionics once clear of the launch vehicle. Once the other satellites are separated, Sherpa-FX will continue to host or carry the Horizon Flight payload on orbit for four to seven years before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
“We are honored to play a role in commemorating the lives of departed loved ones among the stars,” said Jeff Roberts, senior director of mission management, at Spaceflight Inc. “As the leader in global launch services, our job is to ensure payloads get to their desired destination in space in the most timely, cost-effective way possible. Transporting the Celestis memorial on the Sherpa-FX vehicle is a perfect example of meeting these goals.”