Memorial Spaceflights

Surrey Engineers Reveal Details of Heritage Flight Satellite

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On their exclusive, July 21, 2017 tour of the Surrey Satellite Technology US (SST-US) facility in Englewood, Colorado, Celestis Heritage Flight families were enthralled not only by viewing the satellite that will carry their loved ones in Earth orbit, but also by what they learned from the Surrey engineers who spoke with them. Through Surrey's detailed presentation about the OTB-1 satellite and how Heritage Flight participants are integrated into the spacecraft, the Heritage Flight family members in attendance appreciated just how much Surrey truly cares about their loved ones' participation in the mission.

"Meeting those of you who have made this possible for him was just a thrill beyond expression.  Hearing the information from the Surrey staff was so exciting and stimulating.  Seeing the OTB-1 was breathtaking.  But the thing I loved the most was seeing the excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment from the group of engineers who invited us into their work space, just to honor these participants.” -- Heritage Flight family member Ruth Seignemartin

Below are some highlights from the presentation, followed by a link to the presentation (provided with permission of SST-US). Note that Surrey refers to the Heritage Flight as "CC-1":

OTB-1   Adapter
1. CC-1 is attached to the OTB-1 here   2. OTB-1 is attached to this adapter
Payloads in adapter   OTB-1 in the adapter, stacked
3. OTB-1 attached to the adapter   4. The adapter is stacked along with other segments like this. The OTB-1 is circled in red.
  Falcon Heavy on the launch pad
5. This stack is mounted in a fairing like this   6. Which is mounted to the rocket here

This heartfelt message from Surrey’s presentation demonstrates just how meaningful SST-US views Celestis' participation in the mission:

"SST-US is honored to have been chosen to be a part of such a unique memorial for your loved ones. At some point in our lives, we were touched and inspired by the possibilities that space offers, and its role in advancing our understanding of humanity’s presence in the universe. The fact that you are with us today would suggest that your loved one, at some point in his or her life, was affected in the same way.

"As people who chose a profession that is rooted in this fascination, we feel a common bond and a deep personal connection to the great people aboard CC-1. To the friends and families of the departed, we sincerely hope this to be a lasting and memorable experience for you, and one that your loved one would have been proud to be a part of."

Technician integrating Celestis capsules

A Surrey technician integrating Celestis flight capsules into the OTB-1. Image Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology US

"However, the Heritage Flight is not purely a 'passenger', but more of a 'crew mate' (it does provide a functional role on the spacecraft)."

Technician attached Celestis capsule container to the OTB-1

A Surrey technician attaches the device carrying Celestis capsules to the satellite. Image Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology US

"The mass of the Heritage Flight helps to fine-tune the location of the spacecraft center-of-mass into a desirable position.”

American flag reflected off the OTB-1 satellite

Another view of the satellite, reflecting the image of the American flag on the Celestis flight containers. Image Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology US

Click here to see the presentation Surrey made to Celestis guests at the Celebration of the Heritage Flight.

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More Tour Photos

The positive feedback from the Heritage Flight families that took the July 21 tour of Surrey Satellite Technology, US has been so strong that we’ve decided to share more of the experience! On this tour -- the "Celebration of the Heritage Flight" -- families saw the satellite that will carry their loved ones on at least a five-year orbital journey around planet Earth. We discussed this tour in a previous post. Here are a few more still images from the tour. We'll post video from the tour in the near future.

Group photo

Some of the 75 family members who viewed their loved ones' satellite on the Surrey tour July 21.

Celestis and Surrey staff

Celestis and Surrey staff and engineers salute the Star Trek fans aboard the flight.

Heritage Flight families listening to a presentation

Celestis Heritage Flight family members settle in for a series of briefings on the OTB-1 satellite.


Interesting Facts about the Satellite

(Source: Surrey Satellite Technology US)

Hosting spacecraft
Surrey Satellite Technology US’s Orbital Test Bed (OTB-1)

How high above the surface of the Earth will Celestis Capsule (CC-1) fly?
Orbital Altitude: 720 km (~447.4 miles) - Circular

What angle relative to the equator is the orbit plane?
Orbital Inclination:  24o (Roughly the latitude of the launch site; KSC – 28.6o N)

How many times per day will CC-1 orbit the Earth?
CC-1 will experience 14.5 sun rises and sun sets in a days time

How fast will CC-1 be moving?
7.49 km/s (~16,764 mph)

 Fulfill the Dream of Spaceflight

Further Reading

To Boldly Go: Nichelle Nichols’ 90th Celebrated With Unveiling of Foundation

When Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols died in late July at age 89, she was lauded as the trailblazer she was during her lifetime. However, her story is far from over. In early 2023, she will fly alongside the DNA of her son, Kyle Johnson, aboard Celestis’ Enterprise Flight. In addition, the Nichelle Nichols Foundation – announced today, on what would have been her 90th birthday – will continue to promote diversity in STEM fields.

By Celestis
on 12/28/2022
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