Memorial Spaceflights

Celestis Leadership

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Chairman and CEO 

Charles M Chafer

 

Charlie provides overall leadership and direction for Celestis. He is an internationally recognized pioneer of the commercial space age. In the early 1980s, he served as Vice President of Government Relations for Space Services, Inc. of America – the team, under the direction of Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton, that launched the first privately funded rocket into space, the Conestoga 1.

In 1994 he co-founded Celestis, Inc. and led the team that launched the first memorial spaceflight – the Founders Flight in 1997. Under Charlie’s leadership, the company has accomplished 17 memorial spaceflights to date, including – at NASA’s request – honoring the late Dr. Eugene Shoemaker by placing his remains at the Lunar South Pole.

He has been honored by the National Space Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, and Space News described him as “a pioneer on the cutting edge of commercial space.”

Charlie attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and served as a faculty member of the Georgetown Graduate School, where he co-authored the NASA-funded book, Social Sciences and Space Exploration, nominated for the prestigious Blue Pencil award. He is regularly profiled in global media, has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and was a member of President Reagan’s White House Working Group on Space Commercialization.

 

President

Colby Youngblood



 

Colby is responsible for all Celestis operations with particular focus on staff management and fulfilling all significant financial goals of the company.

Colby joined the United States Air Force at the age of 17 and served 20 years before he retired from active military service. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and held leadership roles in aircraft maintenance operations, airfield operations, professional development, human resources, and strategic planning during his military career.

After retiring from the Air Force, Colby earned his M.B.A. with a specialization in Executive Leadership from the University of Houston. Before joining Celestis, he was a successful business management consultant, acting as a Co-CEO to help small businesses become more efficient and profitable.

Colby has a passion for leading teams and developing relationships. His expertise spans from professional development and leadership training to cross-functional team leadership and culture development. Colby enjoys negotiating as a hobby and was excited to attend Harvard University’s flagship negotiation course: Negotiation and Leadership at Harvard Law’s Program On Negotiation.

Colby married his best friend, Myrna, in 2000, and they have two boys, Colby Jr. and Conner.

 

Director of Marketing

Lindsey Wohrer

 

A life-long marketing and advertising professional, Lindsey provides the marketing and advertising strategy development and implementation for the Celestis brand. A true believer that hard work and dedication result in success and the product of a space-loving family, Celestis was a clear fit as it is a pioneer in commercial spaceflight. Lindsey is thrilled with the opportunity to make the dream of space an achievable reality for so many.

Growing up in the studio and on the set of countless productions of her family’s production house, her love and enthusiasm for digital communications, media arts, and technology began in early childhood and has continuously grown throughout her lifetime. Her adventurous spirit has led her to work in the industries of film, broadcast media, software development, and tech services, is now taking her ideas to space.

Lindsey is a native Houstonian and is glad to be back in her hometown after her “world tour” to New York, Austin, and Liverpool, England.

 

Director of Client Services

Antoinette L. Valdez



 

Antoinette delivers timely and caring services to Celestis clients, including family members and loved ones. She serves as the primary contact for a range of client needs, including guidance through the entire process of providing flight samples, logistics of attending launch events, and responding to specific inquiries. She also serves as the initial point of contact for inquiries from funeral industry partners about offering Celestis services.

Her career has spanned industries, including entertainment and energy. She previously served as a Family Service Counselor for Service Corporation International, where she assisted families with funeral arrangements, pre-arrangement planning, and counseling.

Antoinette grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended DeVry Institute of Technology in Lombard, Illinois.

 

Content Director

Emily Carney

 

 

Emily conceives of, creates, and manages the distribution of all Celestis content across multiple platforms. She is responsible for communicating with all of the company’s audiences and is the managing editor of the Celestis newsletter.

Emily has been a “space nut” since the early Space Shuttle program days. She is a veteran space writer and historian, with hundreds of articles credited to her byline and has written for the National Space Society, The Space Review, Ars Technica, and AmericaSpace, to name a few websites. In 2011 she founded Space Hipsters, a Facebook group dedicated to spaceflight that now totals nearly 30,000 space fans.

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