Greg Brown Becomes First Oklahoman Buried in Outer Space
Friday, December 17th 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
A little boyâ€™s dream and his motherâ€™s mission are just days away from becoming reality, thanks to the generosity of some KOTV viewers. Greg Brown died of complications from leukemia last September. Now, his family is about to see his remains launched into outer space.
September Brown, her two children and a family friend left Friday morning on a plane bound for California. They're going to Vandenberg Air Force Base to watch the liftoff of a rocket bound for outer space. A mission that will celebrate the life of Brown's son, Greg, by carrying some of his ashes into space.
The young Brown was a student at Edison Middle School in Tulsa. He loved rockets, and studying about outer space. He wanted to be an astronaut. In February of this year, Brown was diagnosed with leukemia. He died of complications from the disease in September.
Just before his death, he recorded these thoughts on an audiocassette tape. "This is Gregory Brown, I have leukemia,â€ he said. â€œI am about to go in for a bone marrow transplant, and in case I don't make it, well then I guess this is goodbye."
Since her son's death, Mrs. Brown started a campaign to have her sonâ€™s remains launched into space. With the help of a Florida congressman, a donation from a company that flies ashes into space, and the help of some KOTV viewers, the boyâ€™s ashes will be launched into space next Monday night. "Greg always wanted to be an astronaut,â€ Mrs. Brown said. â€œEven though he died at the age of 14 before he could see his dreams fulfilled, Greg will be the first Oklahoman to be buried in space."
The boyâ€™s ashes will be placed inside a tube on the side of a satellite. Once launched, his remains are expected to orbit earth at least 40 years before burning up on the satelliteâ€™s re-entry into the atmosphere. "He would have thought it was unbelievable,â€ said Brown. â€œHe would have never imagined that it could have happened, but he always wanted it to."
Some generous KOTV viewers paid for the familyâ€™s trip to California. â€œThere were a couple of anonymous viewers who helped us with our airline tickets, hotel and rental car,â€ explained Brown. â€œWe'd like to thank them. This never could have happened without their help. We're so excited about being there to see Gregâ€™s wish come true. This is just awesome,â€ she said.
A memorial service will be held at the launch site, and a permanent marker for the boy will be placed in California.