Mothers in the Sky

Andromeda and Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia and Andromeda — Two constellations (areas of the night sky) named after mothers from classical mythology. You can name a star in either constellation!

Naming stars for our mothers is popular today.  In fact, many objects in the night sky have been named after mothers for thousands of years.  And now mothers fly among the stars as astronauts!

The Name A Star Live constellations Andromeda and Cassiopeia are named after two beautiful mothers from classical mythology.  Cassiopeia, the Queen of the Ethiopians and the mother of Andromeda, was a prideful woman who boasted that she was more beautiful than the female attendants to Poseidon, the god of the sea.  For this transgression Poseidon punished Cassiopeia by sending a sea monster to attack Cassiopeia’s country and to kill Andromeda.  But Andromeda was saved and would later have seven children of her own.  Now both mothers travel together in the heavens above as the constellations we know them by today.

Continue reading “Mothers in the Sky”

Christmas in Space

Name A Star Live makes you part of real space missions by launching your star name into the final frontier. As humans like you move into space they bring along their customs and traditions — including Christmas.

Space station Christmas tree
A Christmas Tree on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: Chris Hadfield/Canadian Space Agency

Christmas Day is a NASA holiday, so the astronauts on the International Space Station get to take the day off. The space station astronauts have sent many holiday greetings to Earth. But the most famous Christmas message sent by astronauts to Earthlings was the Apollo 8 Christmas Eve transmission from astronauts in lunar orbit.

Earthrise photo
The famous ‘Earthrise’ photo from Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. The crew entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast, showing pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft.
Image Credit: NASA

Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to orbit the Moon on Christmas Eve 1968. They were also the first astronauts to spend Christmas in space.

To mark the occasion, they sent Christmas greetings and live images back to their home planet and read from the Book of Genesis. Borman closed the message with the words “good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”

It is estimated that as many as one billion people watched the historic broadcast or listened on the radio.

Apollo 8 launched from Earth on Dec. 21 and entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. The Apollo 8 crewmembers ended their history-making journey when they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 27. Eight more Apollo missions would visit the Moon, with six of them landing on its surface.

While astronauts have celebrated Christmas in space in the 1960s, in a sense, Christmas has been in space for over 100,000 years. We’re talking about the spectacular “Christmas Tree cluster”!

Christmas Tree Cluster
The Christmas Tree Cluster Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/P.S. Teixeira (Center for Astrophysics)

The Christmas Tree Cluster (a.k.a. “NGC 2264”) is located in the constellation Monoceros, near the Name A Star Live constellations Orion and Gemini. Newborn stars, hidden behind thick dust, are revealed in this image of a section of the Christmas Tree Cluster from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Infant stars appear as pink and red specks toward the center and appear to have formed in regularly spaced intervals along linear structures in a configuration that resembles the spokes of a wheel or the pattern of a snowflake. Hence, astronomers have nicknamed this the “Snowflake Cluster.”

Skylab 4 Christmas tree
The Skylab 4 crew created this Christmas tree out of cans in December 1973. Skylab 4 was America’s first space station.

Star-forming clouds like this one are dynamic and evolving structures. Since the stars trace the straight line pattern of spokes of a wheel, scientists believe that these are newborn stars, or “protostars.” At a mere 100,000 years old, these infant structures have yet to “crawl” away from their location of birth. Over time, the natural drifting motions of each star will break this order, and the snowflake design will be no more.

Whether celebrated on, or off, the planet, Christmas is a beautiful, joyous time of the year! Name a star for a friend or family member this Christmas and make them part of our real space missions!

Celebrating our Centennial Flight anniversary

Centennial Flight launch
Launch of Name A Star Live’s Centennial Flight, June 2013, Spaceport America, New Mexico

This is the third anniversary of the launch of Name A Star Live’s Centennial Flight, which was named in honor of the 100th anniversary of New Mexico’s statehood. The launch took place at Spaceport America, New Mexico and carried the star names and messages of our customers into space! Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that makes you part of a real space mission.

Like the clients of our sister company, Celestis memorial spaceflights, Name A Star Live customers had the opportunity to tour the launch pad and mission control, view the liftoff, meet Name A Star Live company personnel, and enjoy the many tourist attractions and the beautiful scenery of New Mexico, which is known appropriately as the “Land of Enchantment.”

A coupleSo many people wrote such nice Star Certificate messages for this mission! Below are some of the flown messages from our customers’ Star Certificates. Note that we’ve changed the names in these messages to protect our customers’ privacy:

  • This is to let you know that not only will you always hold a place in my heart, but you will forever have your own place in the sky. I love you.
  • You are such a light to me, reflecting and pointing to the heart of God. Here’s to celebrating the last year, and us! 🙂
  • This star shall shine as long as our love will last. 🙂
  • Love begins in a moment, grows over time, and lasts for eternity.
  • Congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah! – What a joyous occasion that you will remember for the rest of your life.
  • I name this star after Mary J. Smith on the Date of our wedding; may this star always shine bright in the heavens like the love she shows me shines in my heart forever
  • Happy Birthday Grandpa! Now your amazing legacy will live on forever as your star shines in the night’s sky. I love you so much.
  • Happy 25th Anniversary! All these years and you bring such love and light into my life…our lives. You fill my heart with gratitude and joy.
  • Just look at the stars and we’ll remember that we are always there for one another. Pure Joy is the only thing that can describe our friendship and sisterhood.
  • I wanted to give you a gift that would always be there as a shining remembrance of Janet.

The mission flew aboard an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL launch vehicle, which has flown each of Name A Star Live’s missions out of Spaceport America. The spacecraft followed a trajectory like that flown by the astronauts on NASA’s early Gemini missions by flying into space and, after experiencing the zero gravity environment, returning to Earth. The Centennial Flight flew to an altitude of 73.9 miles (118.9 kilometers) and landed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico approximately 23 miles (37 kilometers) downrange.

This was the 12th overall spaceflight of our parent company, Space Services, Inc. You can always find the latest information about our upcoming missions by visiting our online Launch Schedule.

Here is a short video of the Centennial Flight launch provided by Celestis:

NASA New Horizons and Pluto in Sagittarius

Pluto will be in the Name A Star Live constellation Sagittarius when NASA’s New Horizons probe flies past Pluto on July 14, 2015. If you’ve named a star in Sagittarius, take out your Name A Star Live Star Chart and compare the position of your star to Pluto in the diagrams below!

Pluto in Sagittarius, Northern Hemisphere
Pluto in Sagittarius as viewed from the northern hemisphere of Earth, July 2015

Continue reading “NASA New Horizons and Pluto in Sagittarius”

Christmas in Outer Space

Name A Star Live makes you part of real space missions by launching your star name into space.  As the holiday season is upon us, we thought we’d share some of the ways Christmas is celebrated in outer space.  We even provide a futuristic, and amusing, look at Christmas through the vision of Star Trek!

Christmas on the Space Station
The six Expedition 30 crew members assemble in the U.S. Lab (Destiny) aboard the International Space Station for a brief celebration of the Christmas holiday on Dec. 25, 2011. Image Credit: NASA

The Christmas Eve Broadcast of Apollo 8 from the Moon

Earth from the Moon
Earth as viewed by the crew of Apollo 8, December 1968. Click the image above to hear a recording of the astronauts delivering their Christmas Eve message to the world.

Perhaps the most famous celebration of Christmas in the final frontier occurred on the evening of December 24, 1968 when Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to orbit the Moon … and the first astronauts to spend Christmas in space.

To mark the occasion, they sent Christmas greetings and live images back to their home planet and read from the Book of Genesis. Borman closed the message with the words “good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”

It is estimated that as many as one billion people watched the historic broadcast or listened on the radio.  Listen to the message they delivered that Christmas Eve.

Apollo 8 launched from Earth on Dec. 21 and entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. The Apollo 8 crewmembers ended their history-making journey when they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 27. Eight more Apollo missions would visit the Moon, with six of them landing on its surface.

Skylab 4 tree
A Christmas tree made of cans on Skylab 4, 1973

Christmas in Earth Orbit

The Skylab 4 crew was the next set of astronauts to spend Christmas in space, in 1973. To give Skylab a touch of the holiday season, Commander Gerald Carr, Pilot William Pogue and Scientist Edward Gibson made a Christmas tree with food cans. (See photo at left.)

It would be 22 years before another American would spend Christmas outside Earth’s atmosphere. Astronaut John Blaha celebrated the holiday in orbit aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1996.

The first Space Shuttle mission to fly during Christmas was STS-103, on the Space Shuttle Discovery.  The mission, which lasted from Dec. 19 to Dec. 27, 1999, gave NASA and the world a Christmas present that is still giving to the scientific community. After three consecutive days of spacewalks to make repairs and upgrades, they returned the Hubble Space Telescope to service on Christmas Day. Hubble had been in hibernation since the loss of its fourth gyroscope, designed to enable the telescope to point precisely at distant astronomical targets for scientific observations.

Santa Claus and the ISS
Santa Claus approaches the International Space Station

The first Christmas aboard the International Space Station (ISS) occurred in 2000 with the Expedition One crew. Astronaut Bill Shepherd and Cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev spent a quiet Christmas Day opening gifts and talking to their families.

NASA helps Santa Claus

Sometimes Santa needs some help navigating around the world on Christmas Eve, so on Dec. 24, 2001 Expedition Four Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Daniel Bursch and Carl Walz joined space station Flight Director John Curry and his Mission Control personnel in Houston to help Santa Claus complete his mission on time. Click on any of the links below to see how NASA helped Santa out:

QuickTime Format
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Real Video Format – 28K / 56K

Make it so, Make it so, Make it so

As we look to the future, humans might one day celebrate the holidays on the Moon and Mars, in a free-floating space colony orbiting Jupiter, or in some other part of the Milky Way galaxy.  But perhaps we should look to Star Trek for guidance — humorous guidance in this case!

Happy Holidays!

Name A Star Live to make space history … in style!

Name A Star Live will launch the first ever fashion line to fly in space!  We’ve partnered with the eco-fashion brand Teeki in an effort to help promote awareness of a more sustainable future and lifestyle for humanity. Along with our customers’ star names, we will launch the material from which eight pairs of special edition yoga pants will be made for the new Teeki line, “The Age of Aquarius.” The launch, known as The Centennial Flight, is scheduled for liftoff June 21, 2013 out of Spaceport America, New Mexico.

This “Earth Rise Service” mission will fly Teeki’s payload in UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft™ XL SL-7 launch vehicle. After flying in the zero gravity environment of space, the spacecraft carrying the payload will safely return to Earth via parachute. Once recovered it will be retrieved and returned to Teeki, which will then use the material in manufacturing.

Teeki mantras
Together with our customers’ star names, on our June 21, 2013 mission we will launch personal messages and ‘aspirations’ submitted to Teeki.  This photo shows one of the Teeki messages — together with star images — projected onto the ceiling at the UPLIFT Yoga Bash held last week in Los Angeles.

Teeki has joined us in supporting the exploration of outer space “because ultimately it is about a journey of discovery, sustainability, and making our Planet (our only precious habitat) a better and healthier place to live,” said Teeki owner/designer, Lindsay Hemric.

The replicas of these special edition yoga pants made their debut at the historic Vibiana Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday April 25th as part of the UPLIFT Yoga Bash, held by the non-profit organization Keep Friendship Alive to benefit middle school children. This exciting new clothing line was worn by about half of the approximately 700 people who attended the event, including aerial dancers and yoga instructors. In addition, Name A Star Live will launch personal messages and ‘aspirations’ collected by Teeki, along with Teeki’s material. These messages were collected, free of charge, from those in attendance at the Yoga Bash. Members of the public may submit message via Teeki’s website.

About Teeki    

An eco-friendly fashion forward clothing manufacturer, located in Los Angeles, California.  Teekly uses only recycled and sustainable materials to produce functional clothing and strives to create a sense of environmental awareness.

 

Our Lunar Anniversary

This month our sister company, Celestis, Inc., marks the 12-year anniversary of its first lunar mission.

Celestis helped friends of noted planetary geologist Dr. Eugene Shoemaker include a symbolic portion of Dr. Shoemaker’s cremated remains on the NASA Lunar Prospector mission launched January 6, 1998.

Lunar Prospector
NASA's Lunar Prospector

The spacecraft impacted the lunar surface inside a permanently shadowed crater near the south lunar pole, creating a permanent monument to Dr. Shoemaker. Impact occurred at 4:52 a.m. CDT (9:52 a.m. GMT), July 31, 1999.

Dr. Eugene Shoemaker
Dr. Eugene Shoemaker posing next to a model of the Apollo lunar lander. Image Credit: NASA

Dr. Shoemaker, a pioneer in the exploration of the solar system, had longed to go to the Moon as an Apollo astronaut and study its geology firsthand. A medical condition diagnosed in the early 1960s prevented him from doing so. Dr. Shoemaker went on to help select and train Apollo astronauts in lunar geology and impact cratering. He also worked on NASA’s Lunar Ranger and Surveyor programs. His achievements in these areas earned him the United States’ highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science in 1992. He became world-renowned when he, his wife Carolyn, and astronomer David Levy discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which impacted the planet Jupiter in July 1994. Quoting from his NASA biography, “His many honors included the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1965, election to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1980, the Gilbert Award of the Geological Society of America in 1983 and the Kuiper Prize of the American Astronomical Society in 1984.”

Lunar Prospector was one of the most productive, least expensive space missions. Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, Lunar Prospector served as a follow-on to the successful Clementine mission. In fact, Dr. Shoemaker served on the Clementine science team. In 1994, the Clementine spacecraft orbiting the Moon made observations that indicated the presence of water ice on the lunar surface. On March 5, 1998, it was announced that Lunar Prospector had also found evidence suggesting the presence of water ice at both lunar poles.

The presence of water ice on the Moon would facilitate future attempts at lunar colonization. How fitting that Dr. Eugene Shoemaker participated in one last experiment — an experiment that could benefit our future in space.

Looking to the future, Celestis has agreements with Odyssey Moon Limited and Astrobotic Technology, Inc. to launch payloads containing human cremated remains to the surface of the Moon as early as 2012/2013.  Name A Star Live will also include our customers’ star names and messages on board these missions to the Moon!