Falcon Heavy Carried Ashes of 152 People into Orbit

William Pogue on Skylab (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy on Tuesday launched the ashes of a former NASA astronaut, a space journalist, a space historian and a professional Japanese baseball player into orbit earlier this week.

The Celestis heritage flight, which contained the ashes of 152 people, was a payload aboard General Atomics Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite. OTB is expected to orbit the Earth for 25 years.

For NASA astronaut William Pogue, the flight marked a return to space. Pogue spent a record 84 days aboard the Skylab space station in 1973-74.

The ashes of space journalist Frank Sietzen, Jr. and space historian James M. Busby were also aboard. So were the remains of Japanese professional baseball star Masaru Tomita.

Celestis is a Houston-based company that arranges for memorial flights into space aboard suborbital and orbital launches.