A new United Launch Alliance rocket will now send its CEO's DNA into space alongside an already announced memorial for "Star Trek".
Memorial space burial company Celestis Inc. plans to fly the DNA of United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno, along with the DNA of his wife Rebecca, on the first-ever mission for the Vulcan Centaur rocket on Dec. 24.
The Brunos' genetic material joins dozens of files, cremated remains, and DNA samples of its "passengers." Prominent among previous announcements are several "Star Trek" luminaries, including Nichelle Nichols (Uhura on The Original Series or TOS), DeForest Kelley (Bones on TOS), James Doohan (Scotty on TOS), series creator Gene Roddenberry, and Roddenberry's wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry (a recurring "Star Trek" actor). Douglas Trumbull, a visual effects wizard for movies "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), also joins many others bound for interplanetary space.
Celestis' mission, appropriately called Enterprise after the iconic "Star Trek" ship, will launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida's Space Coast. ULA was founded in 2006 as a joint alliance between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co, and this target date will be their shiny new rocket's maiden spaceflight.
Also onboard the deep space mission inside sealed capsules, as reported back on Presidents' Day in February, will be the remains of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
Tory and Rebecca Bruno are both career rocket scientists and if the rocket goes on time, the occasion also marks their 38th wedding anniversary. Bruno has been ULA's CEO since 2014, and has helped develop multiple defense and space launch systems over the past four decades.
"This is such an amazingly unique opportunity, and we are thankful to fly with such distinguished people," Bruno said in a press statement.
In addition to Celestis' memorial payload, Vulcan Centaur will also be carrying Astrobotic's Peregrine moon lander, which will be gently nudged on its path towards a lunar encounter. Then, Vulcan's upper stage will zoom off into a heliocentric (sun-centered) orbit, where it shall be (appropriately) renamed Enterprise Station.
"Tory and Rebecca will be joining more than 200 participants from 35 nations aboard this mission of purpose — creating humankind's deepest outpost in the solar system," Charles M. Chafer, Celestis cofounder and CEO, said in the same statement.