Scottsdale family honors late astronaut by sending cremated remains into space
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Scottsdale family is honoring their loved one by fulfilling the astronaut’s lifelong wish of going to space. For many going into outer space is a dream, but for Dr. Phil Chapman, it was his lifelong mission. “He was the consummate scientist, loved science. Knew since he was 12 years old that he wanted to go into space,” said his wife, Maria Tseng.
She says he did everything in his power to become an astronaut. Although he never made it into space, he went on to work with NASA for five years during the height of the space race, serving as mission scientist for Apollo 14, one of the six missions that landed humans on the moon. “The highlight of his life was being accepted as an astronaut,” Tseng said.
Chapman died unexpectedly last year. His family says he was never a traditional man, so when it came time to remember him, they knew they had to do something extra special. That’s when they found Celestis Memorial Spaceflights. “We’re not a typical funeral or memorial service. There’s more high-fiving, cheering and just joy during our missions than at a typical memorial service,” said Charles Chafer, Celestis CEO and co-founder.
Come November, a small amount of Chapman’s cremated remains will make the trip into space. After that, he will go on another trip, Celestis’ First Voyager service, going beyond the earth-moon system. “Being a guy, he would have said, oh, it’s not real, it’s just ashes, but hey Phil, it’s better than not going at all!” Tseng said as she laughed.
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