Maine man’s ashes launched into space from NM

C.J. Twomey
In this Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, an urn containing the ashes of C.J. Twomey sits on a shelf at his parent's home in Auburn, Maine. C.J. committed suicide three and a half years earlier. On Thursday, Oct. 23, a rocket containing a vial of C.J.’s ashes was launched from the New Mexican desert into space before landing in the White Sands Missile Range. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — A Maine mother who’s using social media to have her son’s ashes scattered all over the world has sent him on his greatest journey yet: to space.

Using her Facebook page, which has more than 17,000 likes, Hallie Twomey has mailed hundreds of packets of her son C.J.’s ashes to strangers worldwide so they can be scattered at the many places he wasn’t able to see before he died more than four years ago.

On Thursday, a rocket containing a vial of his ashes was launched into space from the desert in New Mexico. The rocket spent a few minutes in space before landing in the nearby White Sands Missile Range.

Twomey called it the perfect send off for her adrenaline-loving son, who was 20 years old when he shot himself after getting into an argument with his parents.

His ashes have been scattered in nearly all 50 states and in dozens of places overseas, including Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Denmark.

Twomey, who lives with her husband and 21-year-old son in Auburn, Maine, said that while she hasn’t been able to get over her guilt, she has been touched by the kindness of strangers over the last year.

“I have never experienced such a collective sort of hug,” she said. “I feel less alone, and for me that has been huge.”

Twomey’s ashes and those of about three dozen others were on the rocket. The roughly $1,000 to launch his ashes was paid by for by Celestis, the company that has completed 13 such memorial spaceflights. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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