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Rocket Set to Release Remains of 330 People: George Washington, JFK Cast into Space

After an eight-month delay, a rocket will finally release into deep space the remains of 330 people from all walks of life — including George Washington and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Texas-based company Celestis Inc.’s inaugural Enterprise Flight is scheduled to launch at 2:18 a.m. Monday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, marking the first time human remains will be released on the moon and beyond by a commercial company.

The two-stage Vulcan Centaur rocket will first drop 62 of the 1/4- and 1/2-inch long titanium capsules filled with DNA or cremated remains on the moon, in a 6-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide device called the Peregrine Lunar Lander.

It will become a “permanent memorial.”

The spaceship will then take the remaining 268 capsules over 185 million miles into deep space, where they will “orbit the sun forever,” said Celestis CEO and Co-founder Charles Chafer.

“I’ve had a lot of firsts in my career, but this will be the first commercial deep space mission ever done – and hopefully it will be the first of many, many more over the next few centuries,” Chafer said.

The celestial payload will be filled with luminaries.

An anonymous donor contributed hair samples from former presidents Washington, John F. Kennedy, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Partial remains of late “Star Trek” cast members Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), James Doohan (Scotty), and DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) will also be on board.

The mission will also send the show’s mastermind, Roddenberry, and his wife and actress, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, into deep space.

“We flew Gene on our very first mission in 1997 and Majel came to be a part of it, and she said to me, ‘When it’s my time, I’d like you to fly Gene and I together on a deep space mission.’ And me, being 28 years old at the time and having no reason to believe we couldn’t do it, I said, ‘I would be happy to do that,’” he recalled.

“So not only is the launch a culmination of all our work to date – it represents the fulfillment of a promise that I made,” Chafer continued.

The flight will also fulfill Upper West Side-based sculptor and painter Luise Kaish’s lifetime wish.

Luise – whose works have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and the Whitney – died at 87 in 2013 and was “deeply fascinated” by space exploration and “obsessed with NASA,” her daughter, Melissa Kaish told The Post.

“My dream is for my ashes to be buried in space,” her mom once told her.

Melissa will watch the launch with her father Morton Kaish – who will turn 97 on the same day – via online video streaming.

“I’m incredibly overwhelmed at the idea that it’s actually going to happen … I’m just really thrilled that her dream of the ultimate voyage will be fulfilled,” she said.

Orbiting deep space in perpetuity doesn’t come cheap, costing just under $13,000.

Less permanent send-offs such as suborbital flights — which come back to Earth and are returned to the participants’ families — run nearly $3,000, and to orbit around Earth costs almost $5,000.

The mission was previously scheduled to launch on May 4, 2023.

Chafer, 70, who co-founded Celestis in 1995, insisted that “everything looks good” for Monday’s launch.

READ 21 COMMENTS
  • RM says:

    Who said money could not buy anything?

  • Just an Observer. says:

    I’m calling this Fake News!! How can you get some remains of a person who’s dead, famous or otherwise? Perhaps a family member or friend may leave you in charge or their ashes or something. But if someone contacted you about launching your relative’s remains into orbit would you. I can see the Star Trek people’s families going along with it. But did the Kennedy’s and George Washington’s heirs provide remains? Gimme a break.

  • EZ says:

    idiots with nothing better to do with their money, nothing like helping others….

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