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I also stumbled across this problem and implemented a generic solution. You might want to have a look at the aliencontrol ROS package.

This package contains a node that starts any external application. Almost more importantly, the node also takes care of a clean shutdown, no matter whether the external application or the containing ROS node is terminated.

It is run like so (if you wanted to start

rosrun aliencontrol aliencontrol /path/to/

If you want to embed it in your launch script, add:

<node pkg="aliencontrol" type="aliencontrol" name="aliencontrol">
    <param name="cmd" value="/path/to/"/>