top of page

Celestis launches world's first memorial spaceflight service for pets


Apollo the Dog joins Celestis Pets as first passenger

July 30, 2014 — Celestis, Inc., the Houston, Texas, global leader in Memorial Spaceflights, today announced Celestis Pets, a new memorial service honoring cats, dogs, and other animal companions. A global first, Celestis Pets offers customers a unique way to celebrate the life of their pet by sending a symbolic portion of their cremated remains or DNA on a final journey to space.


Leading the way for this new service is a blue merle Australian Shepherd aptly named Apollo, who lived with the Potter family of Los Angeles, California. “Apollo was a remarkably intelligent dog who constantly demonstrated leadership and was 

almost the equivalent of an Olympic athlete," said owner and dog lover Michael Potter. “We wanted to do something to remember and honor Apollo, and Celestis Pets is an incredible way to memorialize him.” Apollo, along with beloved companions from around the world, will travel to space on board Celestis Pets’ inaugural flight this fall.


On all Celestis Pets flights, pet cremated remains or DNA will travel in individual capsules on a commercial launch vehicle alongside scientific and commercial payloads. Service options include suborbital flights that return to Earth, Earth orbit missions, lunar flights, and missions to deep space. Pet spaceflights are an historic first and mark a further evolution of commercial spaceflight to include non-human species.


“Our pet service flights are an idea that’s been a long time coming,” Celestis CEO Charles Chafer said. “Over the years we’ve received so many requests to include pets in our memorial spaceflights and we’re very excited to extend this tribute to our animal companions.”


As part of Celestis’ efforts to honor our furry companions, a portion of their upcoming flight's proceeds will be donated to the Rescued Pets Movement, a non-profit working to find homes for thousands of homeless cats and dogs across the United States. “RPM is honored to have been chosen as a beneficiary of Celestis Pets’ first Pet Tribute Launch,” said Laura Carlock, Co-President and Co-Founder of RPM. “This innovative pet memorial program provides a wonderful and unique way for owners to memorialize their pets, and we are excited to be able to participate.”


Celestis Pets will also work with distributor Into the Sunset Pet Transition Center of San Diego, California, to prepare clients for their memorial journey to space.  "Into the Sunset is pleased to partner with Celestis who shares our belief in uniquely honoring loved ones," said Vivianne Villanueva, owner of Into the Sunset. "Memorial spaceflights are a special way to celebrate the life and love shared between humans and our pet companions."


The inaugural Celestis Pets memorial spaceflight is scheduled for fall 2014 with availability on select flights thereafter.




About Celestis: Celestis Pets is a division of Celestis, Inc. and a subsidiary of Space Services Holdings, Inc. (SSHI), the Houston-based commercial space pioneer whose heritage dates to the world’s first privately funded rocket launch, 1982's Conestoga 1.  The founders of SSHI and Celestis also pioneered post-cremation memorial spaceflights in 1997 with the launch of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and 60's pop icon Timothy Leary, among others. Working with NASA, Celestis placed Dr. Eugene Shoemaker's cremated remains on the lunar surface, making Dr. Shoemaker the first person to be buried on the Moon. 


About the Rescued Pets Movement: The Rescued Pets Movement is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that provides a second chance for thousands of Houston’s homeless dogs and cats through transport to forever homes in communities throughout the country that have a need for adoptable pets.  Through its partnership with Houston’s City Pound (BARC), RPM has saved and transported over 3,000 dogs and cats in 10 short months.


About Into the Sunset Pet Transition Center: Into the Sunset Pet Transition Center is the first brick-and-mortar center dedicated to all aspects of end-of-life care for the dying pet and their family. Into the Sunset offer this unique concept to pet parents facing the final journey with their pet. Into the Sunset will take the dying process out of a clinical setting and relocate it to a warm environment where highly individualized end-of-life care is thoughtfully and compassionately provided. This is done through education, guidance, respect and, most of all, without judgment. Into the Sunset provides hospice and palliative care, grief companioning, memorialization, and comprehensive end-of-life care.


For more information and media requests, please contact Pazia Schonfeld at 845-721-9456.


bottom of page