BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Families across the country will watch with particular interest tomorrow as SpaceX’s next rideshare mission.
This is because it is also a memorial flight.
On Wednesday, SpaceX will launch its latest rideshare mission, Transporter-5, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Among the many small satellites in orbit is a Celestis commemorative spaceflight mission, called “Ascension Flight”.
Celestis is about to fly some of the cremated remains of 47 people into space.
“Participants will be launched into Earth orbit with a satellite. They will remain attached to this satellite orbiting Earth for at least a decade,” said Celestis CEO and co-founder Charles Chafer.
On Tuesday, these families held a memorial service to honor their loved ones ahead of tomorrow’s mission.
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A small portion of Marjorie Dufton’s cremated remains will make the trip. Her son Michael told Channel 9 she was a trailblazer.
“She had been invited into the female space program for the Mercury program in the early 60s. Before she could actually get into the program itself, they disbanded the entire female program. It was one of her biggest disappointments in life, although she achieved many, many things. She was a real adventurer. And this is my way of making that last wish come true,” said Michael Dufton.
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Melissa Teston hopes to do the same for her brother, Derek Yanes. The Tampa native was watching the Florida skies for rocket launches. Yanes was born with a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia which prevented him from joining the space program.
“Although he would never have achieved the physical capabilities of an Earth astronaut, he is capable of becoming a celestial astronaut,” Teston said.
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For families, flights range from around $2,500 to $12,000, depending on the route.
Wednesday’s launch is scheduled to lift off at 2:35 p.m.
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