SpaceX is set to launch the Enoch satellite containing a 24ct gold canopic jar sculpture into space from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, US, next week.

The jar features a bust of late Robert Henry Lawrence Jr, the first African-American astronaut chosen for any national space programme.

However, Lawrence’s dream of going to space remained unfulfilled when he died in 1967 while training to be a junior pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Created by artist Tavares Strachan and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the canopic jar received blessings at a Shinto shrine in Fukuoka, Japan, and was recognised to contain Lawrence’s ‘soul’ in it.

“Launching an artwork into space is a spectacular result of the programme.”

Ancient Egyptians used canopic jars to protect and preserve the organs of the deceased.

Strachan developed the sculpture after he won a LACMA Art + Technology Lab grant from LACMA. SpaceX is one of the founding sponsors of the LACMA Art +Technology Lab.

LACMA CEO Michael Govan said: “Tavares Strachan’s Enoch exemplifies the LACMA Art + Technology Lab’s mission to foster conversations between talented artists and leading technology companies to realise collaborations that would not be otherwise possible.

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“Launching an artwork into space is a spectacular result of the programme. More importantly, Tavares’ project justly honours an under recognised pioneer of Nasa’s space programme.”

The Enoch 3U satellite is scheduled to be launched as part of Spaceflight Industries’ SSO-A: Express mission.

Following the launch, the canopic jar sculpture will fly around the Earth for seven years in a Sun-synchronous orbit.