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Monday April 23rd, 2007

Free Admission To Military In Honor of Astronaut Gordon Cooper

In honor of Astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. (Colonel, USAF, Ret.), the New Mexico Museum of Space History will offer free admission to all active duty and retired military on Friday, April 27th. The Museum, in partnership with Celestis, Inc., will host memorial services for Astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. (Colonel, USAF, Ret.), James "Scotty" Doohan and roughly 200 other individuals from more than ten nations on Friday, April 27, 2007. A public memorial service will be held at 3:00pm in the upper parking lot of the museum. Parking will be available at the Tays Special Events Center, directly across from the entrance to the museum. Shuttle transportation to the memorial site will be available.

Visitors who plan to tour the museum and attend the services are encouraged to arrive at the Museum no later than 1:00pm in order to ensure enough time for a tour of the facility prior to the memorial as the museum closes at 5:00pm.

The memorial service will precede an UP Aerospace rocket launch from Spaceport America on Saturday April 28, which will carry a symbolic portion of the cremated remains of the flight participants. The Celestis Legacy Memorial Spaceflight, scheduled for April 28th, 2007, will place a symbolic portion of the cremated remains of approximately 200 participants into space on a suborbital trajectory similar to NASA's early Mercury manned spaceflights in the 1960s. The Earthrise service launches flight capsules and modules into space and returns them to Earth via parachute recovery. Once recovered the Celestis capsules and modules are returned to family members and loved ones, providing them with a flown keepsake. More information about this company and the "Legacy Flight" can be found on their website:

Leroy Gordon Cooper was one of the nation's first astronauts and once set a space endurance record by traveling more than 3.3 million miles aboard Gemini 5. Cooper, an Oklahoma native who entered the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1945, later became an elite Air Force test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he became fascinated with the space program. In April 1959, Cooper was named as one of the Project Mercury astronauts. On May 15 and 16, 1963, Cooper piloted the Faith 7 spacecraft on a 22-orbit mission that concluded the operational phase of Project Mercury. A little more than two years later, he set a new space endurance record, serving as command pilot of the eight-day, 120-revolution Gemini 5 mission. On this flight he and Charles Conrad traveled a distance of 3,312,993 miles in 190 hours and 56 minutes. Cooper also became the first man to make a second orbital flight. During his two space flights, Cooper logged 225 hours, 15 minutes and 3 seconds. He served as backup command pilot for Gemini 12 and as backup commander for Apollo X. Cooper is an inductee of the International Space Hall of Fame.

James Doohan was best known to Star Trek fans as Scotty ("Montgomery Scott"), the chief engineer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, in the original Star Trek series. He has also appeared in the first seven Star Trek motion pictures.

Also among the flight participants is George Hall, a former Alamogordo teacher who referred to himself as an "Earthbound Astronaut".

For more information, call 575-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589.