Los Angeles, CA, October 14, 1997 Celestis Corporation of Houston Texas has been chosen to receive this year's prestigious Vision to Reality award for their successful first space funeral launch. Given to the year's most successful, innovative and revolutionary space projects, the award winners are nominated by the membership of the Space Frontier Foundation, a national space policy and media organization.
The award is to be presented by the last man to walk on the Moon, Apollo 17 astronaut and former Senator Harrison Schmitt, at the Foundation's sixth annual conference banquet at the Los Angeles Airport Sheraton Hotel on November 8. Previous winners include the McDonnell Douglas DC-X rocket team, for their successful demonstration of the concept of low cost vertical take off and landing reusable launch vehicles, the Air Force Clementine Lunar mapping mission team for its extremely low cost mission to map the Moon and their discovery of possible ice deposits on the Lunar pole, and SpaceHab, builders of the commercial SpaceHab payload module that flies regularly on the space shuttle.
Stated the Foundation's President and Founder, Rick Tumlinson: "It was a close race between Celestis and the Sojourner Mars Mission team, but our first three awards went to government run or related projects, while Celestis, though very unusual, does indeed represent a new private sector market being created in space. Our members are very sophisticated, and they understand that Celestis' goal is much broader than this one project. They recognize the need to encourage such entrepreneurial thinking, since they believe that it is not governments that will truly open space, but innovative individuals and companies. No matter how odd they may sound at first, we need all kinds of businesses out there to begin building a new space based economy."