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Bell X-1Delta RocketWhy do so many aerospace professionals select Celestis Memorial Spaceflights for their cremation memorial service?

Unlike more traditional cremation options such as sea scattering of ashes, the Celestis service offers a direct link to space exploration and provides a uniquely compelling tribute for a life spent in the aerospace industry.

From astronauts to engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, visionaries, launch operators, and pilots – Celestis Memorial Spaceflight participants span all elements of aerospace.

See below to view the biographies of several aerospace professionals who have selected a space funeral provided by Celestis.

Benson Hamlin

An aviation pioneer whose aircraft design career spanned the era from biplanes to rockets, Benson Hamlin was the principal designer of the preliminary concept for the Bell X-1, the first supersonic aircraft, now on display in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Mr. Hamlin's historic achievement was recognized in 1993 when he was awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' prestigious Aircraft Design Award. While at Bell he also designed extremely sophisticated microwave missile-guided systems before the days of solid-state electronics.

His forty year aerospace engineering career began at Chance-Vought Aircraft Corporation in Connecticut. Throughout his career, his desire to acquire greater knowledge, experience, and expertise in his field led him to airplane companies such as Bell Aircraft in Buffalo, New York. Read more...


Mareta N. West was the first woman astrogeologist -- a geologist of other worlds. In fact, she was the lunar geologist at NASA who determined the crucial landing site on the moon for Apollo 11.

She was truly a pioneer. In the 1940s, she was the first female consulting geologist in the Oklahoma City area, being described by The Daily Oklahoman as a "feminine fossil finder." She was the first woman geologist to be hired by the U.S. Geological Survey in Arizona. She was the only woman on NASA's Geology Experiment Team for Apollo 11. While at NASA she participated in the evaluation and selection of landing sites on other worlds. These landing sites were for manned and unmanned missions to the moon, and for unmanned missions to Mars. Read more...


Mareta West
L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.

One of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. was an American hero and a true space pioneer who helped lead America into the Space Age.

"Gordo" Cooper became a leading celebrity of the new Space Age when he was selected as one of the Mercury 7 astronauts in April 1959. In May 1963 he piloted the Faith 7 spacecraft on the Mercury 9 mission – the last of the Project Mercury missions. In August 1965 he commanded the Gemini 5 mission, where he and astronaut Charles Conrad set a new space endurance record at the time, orbiting Earth for approximately eight days. The mission demonstrated that astronauts could survive trips to the Moon and back. This flight also made Gordo the first human to fly on two missions on Earth orbit. Additionally, Gordo served as a backup astronaut for the Gemini 12 and Apollo 10 missions. All told, Gordo logged 222 hours in space. Gordo left NASA and retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1970. Read more...


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