Chicken-Fried News: Ashes to ashes 

click to enlarge INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

There are many ways to honor the memory of the dearly departed. Some people choose to have their remains buried in a favorite spot or poured into the ocean, but for Oklahoma native and former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Bill Pogue, there was nothing more fitting than going back among the stars.

Last week, some of Pogue’s remains were blasted into space on a SpaceX rocket for a fitting end to a record-breaking life. Pogue, who was born in Okemah and lived in Sand Springs, served in the Air Force before joining NASA in the 1960s. Pogue was a support crewmember on several Apollo missions before becoming pilot of a Skylab mission in 1974, which was NASA’s first space station.

Pogue spent four months aboard Skylab, which was a record amount of time in space at the time, to test the long-term effect of zero gravity on the human body. He retired from NASA and the Air Force not long after returning. He has an airport named after him in Sand Springs, and he authored the book How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space?: All the Answers to All the Questions You Have About Living in Space that answered 187 common questions astronauts receive. Pogue died at the age of 84 in 2014.

His remains were among those of 150 people aboard the SpaceX rocket and were facilitated by the company Celestis, which has been attaching people’s remains to rockets since 1994. Celestis even gives people the option to send their pets’ ashes into space because we have all had that conversation with our dogs where they asked to be with the big bone in the sky.

According to CNBC, it costs about $2,500 to have a few ounces of ashes launched into space, which might be the only way any of us regular folks get into space. You don’t have to worry about an Event Horizon scenario, however; the capsules containing the remains will burn up upon reentering the atmosphere.

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