The cremated remains of longtime Shenandoah residents to reach the final frontier

THE WOODLANDS, TX – James Matthew Weatherby, a longtime resident of Shenandoah, died last June 22 at the age of 47. One of his lifelong dreams – which he even wrote about in a school assignment from 1987, when he was 13 – was to reach space.

James Weatherby’s family fulfills lifelong wish to travel into space

Even though he died before ever stepping into a space vehicle, his loving widow, Melody, allows his dream to come true posthumously; she found and hired a company to take his ashes into space.

Celestis, Inc., the pioneer and global leader in memorial spaceflight services, has begun its countdown to the November 30 launch of Aurora from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The mission is the ninth collaboration between Celestis and UP Aerospace, which will launch a SpaceLoft XL rocket carrying Celestis cremation memorials.

James’ fascination with space began at an early age. Being the adventure seeker that he was, he managed to get the opportunity to go to space camp when he was younger, which fueled his interest in space and things related to space. He and Melody actually got married in 2004 on the bridge of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D at Star Trek: The Experience exhibition in Las Vegas.

Just as he spent his life helping his friends and family and sharing the many adventure stories he had with them, now his family can give him the biggest adventure yet by going to the final frontier on who loved her so much.

“He’s always loved space, we both have, from watching every release in real space since 1999 to watching Star TrekMelody said. “His second mother – his best friend’s mother – suggested we find a way to launch him into space. I chose Celestis because it was a sensible decision; they were the most reliable and had the most flights.”

James and others on the November flight will briefly experience the weightlessness of space before returning safely to Earth. Each capsule flown, with the cremated remains or DNA sample still sealed inside, will be presented to family and other loved ones as a permanent keepsake.

“Celestis is deeply honored to send Mr. Weatherby on his final journey into space,” said Colby Youngblood, President of Celestis. “A memorial spaceflight is the perfect tribute to someone who was so passionate about Star Trek and the final frontier it embraced.”

Melody was best friends with James for seven years before they married in 2004 – “It took him a long time to wear me down” – and speaks of his history fondly. When he was just a schoolboy, he completed a writing assignment stating that the two things he wanted to do before he died were to travel into space and write stories. “Now he’s able to have done both,” Melody said. “For years he was a great game master at our Dungeons & Dragons sessions and came up with such wonderful stories and entire universes. Now he gets to have his second wish granted by Celestis.”

The Aurora flight is UP Aerospace’s twentieth launch from Spaceport America and the fourteenth of its SpaceLoft XL vehicle. The flight is dedicated to the mesmerizing aurora lights that serve as a beacon for those with a deep love of space and exploration. Bookings for this memorial release are now closed; however, the release date for the next Earth Rise mission will be posted soon. For more information about the Celestis Aurora flight, visit the Celestis website at or call 1-866-866-1186.

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