The Celestis Centennial Memorial Spaceflight – named in honor of the statehood centennial of New Mexico – launched at 7:57 am MDT, June 21, 2013 aboard an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL rocket from Spaceport America. Centennial was the fifth Earth Rise mission and twelfth overall Celestis Memorial Spaceflight conducted by Celestis.
As always, the participants aboard the Centennial Flight represented a global mix of people from all walks of life. Among those on board were: greatly admired Hatch, New Mexico Mayor Judd Nordyke, who was an early advocate for Spaceport America; Candy Johnson - an American actress and dancer who appeared in several of the Frankie Avalon 'Beach Party' films of the 1960s - launched together with her sister, Gayle Johns; and Maria Swan who was crowned "Miss World Argentina" in 1967 and became Argentina's first female airline pilot.
The Centennial Flight primary payload was student experiments sponsored by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, part of the space agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate, under the auspices of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium.
Also aboard were payloads from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense, and NASA.
Earth Rise Service #5
Celestis Memorial Spaceflight: #12
Mission Name: Centennial Flight
Launch Location: Spaceport America, NM
Launch Date: June 21, 2013
At the beginning of the memorial service, local officials, including two Mayors greeted Celestis guests and told them, after reading the biographies of those on board, how impressed they were with those aboard.
Wende Doohan, wife of Star Trek actor and Celestis participant James Doohan, joined the service as a keynote speaker, noting, “I know what it’s like … when the rocket goes up you are so happy, you know they’re out there somewhere yelling yahoo!”
Launch Pad Tour
The T-1 (one day before launch) mission tour launch pad briefing was conducted by UP Aerospace founder and mission director Jerry Larson, who noted that seven seconds after liftoff, the Centennial Flight capsules located in the rocket’s nosecone would be higher (38,000 feet) than the commercial airliner that brought the guests to New Mexico.
Guests were permitted to take ‘up close' photos and videos of the rocket as they said a final goodbye to their loved ones on board.
On launch day the early morning Sun rose brilliantly over the mountains bordering the White Sands Missile Range to the East. Spectators listened to a flawless count and watched last minute weather balloons rise to test the prevailing winds and report a “firing solution” for the flight trajectory to space.
The liftoff of SL-7 (the seventh SpaceLoft rocket launched) sent the Centennial Flight soaring to space, and just as predicted seven minutes later twin sonic booms were heard as the payload re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on its way to recovery and return to each of the families of those on board.
The Centennial Flight - The Centennial Flight logo pays tribute to the recent New Mexico Centennial Celebration by using the same color scheme of turquoise, brown and white featured in the state’s festivities. As a celebration of the past, this logo incorporates many themes and images found in earlier Celestis logos including
angelic wings symbolizing the dream of flight achieved by the mission participants, the Organ Mountain range visible from Spaceport America and, New Mexico's state icon, the symbol of the Zia Pueblo, representing the sun and the universal harmony.
The Centennial Flight logo is from well-known designer and illustrator Eric Gignac. Eric’s portfolio also includes co-design of NASA Space Shuttle mission patches for the STS 128 and 133 missions.
Opens in a new window.Opens an external site.Opens an external site in a new window.