Weddings in Space
In July, a cosmonaut and his wife were married in space. Sergei Malenchenko was on his way to the International Space Station to perform a research mission when he and his wife were wed via satellite video link. The couple exchanged vows in front of an audience at NASA’s headquarters and a ring was delivered to the ISS on a Progress cargo spacecraft. The ring had precious stones set in different shapes and a bow tie was given to the groom by his best man. The spaceship was equipped with a microphone and cameras, and the couple’s best man, Ed Lu, performed the ceremony. The wedding transmission was classified as a private family conference, and the bride and groom were married 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface. The ceremony lasted for two hours and included live broadcasts from outer space. The reception was also recorded for posterity. The entire experience is so unique that the bride and groom are able to share the experience and talk about it for years to come. A Japanese company, Rocketplane Kistler, has now partnered with an Oklahoma-based wedding planner to organize a space wedding for couples. The ceremony, which will be broadcast from orbit at an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles), will cost 240 million yen ($2.2 million). The couple will be joined by two other guests and a priest in Houston. The ceremony will also be followed by a live broadcast of the entire event in outer space. Although it is illegal to marry in space, some cosmonauts are marrying in space, and Yuri Malenchenko did. The ISS was launched into space in October 2004 and re-emerged into the sun two months later. The couple later married in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, which is north of Moscow. They welcomed their daughter Camilla two years later. In 2006, many experts believed the cosmonaut’s career would end, but he went on to complete two more missions aboard the station. Despite the high cost, the wedding still managed to get the press coverage and was broadcast live in the media. The wedding was held at an altitude of 100 kilometers above Earth. The couple opted for a suborbital flight instead of an earth-based venue. A space-based wedding company named Rocketplane also offers a simulated wedding on its ISS. The cosmonauts can invite two additional guests as well as a priest for the ceremony. During the actual wedding, live broadcasts of the event are also available for the general public. The marriage took place on a spaceship in the far future. The cosmonauts were accompanied by astronauts. During the ceremony, Yuri’s crewmate, Ed Lu, a former cosmonaut, stood in for him in Houston. The pair blew kisses to each other before entering the balloon. The two astronauts’ escort the bride with their ships. It is not unusual for couples to marry in space.