Tribute Flight -- the 7th Earth Rise mission and 14th memorial spaceflight -- was launched to space at 8:01 am MST (10:01 am EST, 3:01 pm GMT) November 6, 2015, aboard a SpaceLoft XL rocket. It was a chilly but sunny morning in the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Family and friends cheered as the rocket rushed to carry its precious cargo to space and back.
"It will take off very quick: 16 times the gravity (16 G's) it is really fast. The rocket produces about 12,000 pounds of thrust. It will be a delay you will see the light come on, everybody will cheer, then you hear the roar of the motor as it flies. Then it will burn for 15 seconds, reaching 4,000 feet." Jerry Larson, UP Aerospace CEO.
The Tribute Flight is dedicated to all of those on board the mission, their families and friends. It also pays tribute to the ancient Native Americans of northwestern New Mexico whose thousand-year-old architecture speaks of a culture that was very much in tune with the motions of the Sun, the Moon and the stars.
"One of the things that makes this so interesting and so cutting edge is that UP Aerospace is able to accomplish real missions, increasingly complex missions in a small, compact and therefore affordable fashion. That is really a revolution in space technology." Charles M. Chafer, Celestis CEO
The Tribute Flight - The Tribute Flight logo incorporates both the continuing Celestis symbolic themes of angel wings, the New Mexico landscape, and a star taking flight, and adds a tribute to the ancient Native Americans of northwestern New Mexico. The deep colors speak of a culture (symbolized by the coiled shape) that was very much in tune with the motions of the Sun, the Moon and the stars. The logo incorporates, for the first time, a reference to the launch site at Spaceport America and continues to honor our launch services provider, UP Aerospace.
The Tribute 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.