A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a payload of satellites for commercial and government customers lifts off from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 25, 2022.

Alan Clive’s world went dark in his early 20s. He never saw his kids or the neighborhoods he lived in after he left Detroit, or the office at a federal agency where he’d show up and change people’s lives.

Deep space, though? He could see that as well as anyone. Or better, really, because distant planets are the stuff of imagination, and his was burnished by the soaring stories of the greatest writers of science fiction.

Wednesday afternoon, Clive slipped the surly bonds of Earth’s atmosphere and experienced space for himself. Some of his ashes did, anyway, and his son is as certain as gravity that he’s relishing the ride.

“I’m thrilled for him,” said Michael Clive, 37. “I’m sure he’s loving it.”

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