Family remembers Mid-South native killed in desert explosion

He made international headlines when his team helped send the first privately funded manned rocket into space.

And now his family is mourning the loss of this Mid-South native.

45-year-old Charles Glenn May was one of three people who died in the Mojave desert Thursday afternoon after an explosion during a Nitrous Oxide test.

Glenn May went to Collierville High School, spent time in the Army and achieved international headlines working on spaceship once financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Many questions surround the explosion that killed May and two others in the Mojave desert.

"I feel like I should call him and he'll call you back but it won't happen," said Glenn May's brother Gerald.

Fighting back tears, May remembers his brother, Glenn --a nature lover-- an amazing engineer and an innovator -- someone who could put a rocket on the back of a go-cart just for fun.

In 2004, May was part of a company that built Spaceship One, an aircraft deemed the first privately funded manned spacecraft.

The company Scaled Composites won $10 million for the three successful space flights earning a place in history.

Gerald added, "he wouldn't brag about it at all but it is such a historical event."

Thursday's deadly explosion happened while May and a team of engineers were doing tests for Spaceship Two.

"I never in my wildest imagination could understand and think I would be burying my son," said Roy May.

Behind the sadness and sorrow, the May family wants answers of what happened while seeking some comfort in May's choice of profession.

"He was out there doing something he loved to do, building rocket engines," said Gerald.

Family members remember their loved one who was raised in the MidSouth, built rocket engines and making history making his family proud.


to email Andrew Douglas.