Celestis Founders Flight Full Mission Video
The Official Founders Flight Video
View the Official Celestis video of The Founders Flight provided to families of those on board.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was one of the participants on board
The Founders Flight.
The Founders Flight garnered worldwide media attention. Read launch articles from the Times & The Washington Post

"Today we truly inaugurated the Earthview service. 24 pioneers left the Earth from Spanish soil for the new frontier of space. How appropriate that these modern explorers begin their journey from the departure point of the explorers of the new world over five hundred years ago....

We honor all the families who participated in The Founders Flight. Their perseverance has been rewarded - beginning today a fitting memorial to their loved ones will orbit over head every ninety minutes, and we'll always remember them".

Charles Chafer, Co-Founder
Celestis Earthview 01 launch press release
April 21, 1997, Canary Islands, Spain

The world's first private memorial spaceflight occurred on April 21, 1997. The air-launched Pegasus rocket carrying the flight capsules of Gene Roddenberry, Timothy Leary, Gerard O'Neill, Krafft Ehricke and 20 others deployed over the Canary Islands as it propelled the Celestis spacecraft into orbit. (Click here to see a flight trajectory diagram.) The individual flight capsules remained within the Celestis spacecraft throughout its orbit and re-entered the atmosphere May 20, 2002 northeast of Australia. (Click here to read more about the reentry.)

At 6:00 a.m. Central Standard Time, 1:00 p.m. Madrid time, the Orbital Sciences Corporation Stargazer aircraft took off from the Canary Islands, Spain, carrying the Pegasus launch vehicle with the Celestis payload. After carrying the Pegasus XL booster to an altitude of approximately 38,000 feet, the Stargazer released the winged rocket for a five-second free fall before the main engine ignited, powering the three-stage solid fuel vehicle into low Earth orbit.

First stage ignition occurred at 7:00 a.m. Central Standard Time, 2:00 p.m. Madrid time.

The following were the satellite's orbital parameters:

Apogee: 578.7 km (361.7 miles)
Perigee: 551.0 km (344.4 miles)
Orbital Period: 96.0 minutes
15 revolutions per day
Inclination: 151 degrees
Reentry occurred May 20, 2002.

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