Memorial Spaceflights

Rafael R. Rossell

"Reach The Unreachable Star!"
1931 - 1997

Rafael R. Rossell was always a visionary, a man of the future, a person ahead of his time. As a Sagittarius, he was always reaching for the stars.

He was ahead of his time in many ways. He was a swimming champion at age seven in his native province of Mendoza, Argentina. He was the first to obtain a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of San Luis.

He was the first patient to request, and have, a hernia operation under self-hypnosis to prove that the power of the mind can help in controlling feelings such as pain. He was the first to assist mothers during labor in the natural birth of their babies with the help of hypnosis. His youngest son was one of ten babies born under his hypnotic assistance to their mothers.

He loved to read and watch movies. He learned English before coming to the United States just from seeing American movies. Because of his enthusiasm for cinematography he would attend rare movie showings and participate in movie clubs. In the late 1950s, he introduced movies to rural areas in San Luis, Argentina. He showed 16-millimeter films in a barn on Sundays, events well attended by country families who would travel miles to see wonders in film for the first time. His favorite movies were Charles Chaplin's, one of his many heroes in cinema.

He believed in space exploration and that people will expand into outer space. He saw outer space as the great new frontier, and he had many ideas on the peaceful use of space. In the 1980s he risked all his money to create LAD, the first company in the world to offer burials in space. The Challenger disaster halted his efforts, and he started all over again as a carpenter. He opened Creative Cabinets, a store in Brooklyn still in operation under new management.

Rafael was a psychotherapist by profession. One of his former patients said that he was a kind of Don Quixote who was always on a spiritual mission to rescue those in need of support and inspiration, which he did with humor and joy. He belonged to the American Psychological Association and the Interamerican Psychoanalytical Association, and he assisted members visiting New York, where he lived his last 30 years.

As a university professor in Argentina and later in New York, he opened roads for many to follow his tracks, as one of his students stated. He was funny and wise while opening doors to the inner visions of the workings of the mind.

Rafael has a loving and united family. He and his wife, Ana Esther Gomez de Rossell, have three children, Roxana, Robert, and Roman, and a granddaughter, Jocelyn. Rafael always had good and long lasting friends to argue his ideas with. His friends found him to be sensitive and caring, and to have stubbornness along with great courage.

From his maternal Italian grandfather Amorillo, he cultivated a love for opera. He was inspired by the play The Man of La Mancha. He identified himself with Don Quixote and felt inspired by the lyrics: "To reach the unreachable stars."

Rafael was very happy to learn about Celestis' first flight because his ideas about commercialization of space and space burials were becoming a reality. Although he didn't anticipate he would die so soon and unexpectedly of heart failure, he had always expressed his dream-he called it a fantasy-that his remains should be freed in outer space.

As he joins the Universe, he is now one of those stars in the form of pure and eternal freedom. Freedom and independence were his quests. He created a light on this planet and now he is a light in the eternity of space. May he enjoy it in peace.

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