What Is Memorial Spaceflight?

Posted: 12/02/2018

When it comes to what happens to you or your loved ones remains once you have passed away, there is an increasingly a number of options available to you on the market then there was a decade ago. The funeral business is becoming ever-more creative, and also considerably more environmentally friendly at the same time – take, for example, the creation of full body burial suit,  a burial shroud that turns the body eventually into compost, as well as the invention of water cremations, and burial pods. However, all of these funeral options remain on earth. You may find this is a slightly obvious statement to make given the limited alternatives available. You also will probably think that it is really the only option out there for people. Well, in fact, it isn’t.  Have you ever thought about memorial spaceflight?

We tell you everything you need to know about memorial spaceflight including what it entails and the companies who provide the service.

What is memorial spaceflight

Memorial spaceflight, in other words, is a type of burial with one crucial caveat compared to other funerals you may have heard of: it is in space.  For someone who has always wanted to travel in space, or has lived a life dedicated to adventure seeking, exploration and sitting under the stars, a memorial spaceflight ceremony could be the perfect burial service option.

What does memorial spaceflight involve?

If you thought that perhaps there was only one type of memorial spaceflight available, think again! If you can afford it, you may choose to have you or your loved one’s ashes or DNA sent up to the moon, staying permanently up in space.

Companies who provide space burials will typically shoot up your ashes amongst thousands of items that circle the earth all year round, including spy satellites and communication satellites.  Depending on your specific needs (and with different costs incurred depending on the option you choose) you can have different types of memorial spaceflight services. Companies such as Celestis, that has in fact provided memorial spaceflight services to people around the world for over 20 years, provide four different options:

  • Ashes launched into the lunar orbit or service – this option provides people with the option of having their remains or DNA on the moon! Rather than circulating the orbit for a limited amount of time, this gives people the option of having a permanent memorial in outer space. What could be more special than the idea of knowing that you or your loved one, has ended up venturing upon a special journey that has been completed by only a very select few?
  • Ashes that are launched into deep space – the ultimate type of space burial, for the ultimate adventurer. This option carries persons cremated remains or DNA onto a spacecraft that then travels into deep space – meaning that it permanently leaves the earth and moon system, leaving the solar system to then take on a journey permanently exploring the cosmos.
  • Ashes that are launched into the earth’s orbit – this is when a capsule containing the cremated remains of a loved one or their DNA is placed inside a flight capsule. It is then put aboard a satellite or rocket that will then orbit the earth for many years or months. Friends and family members usually have the option of seeing the spacecraft launch, and many of these types of events are available as a webcast too, meaning that distant relatives can also be a part of this incredibly special moment.
  • Ashes that rise into space before returning to earth – the ashes will be typically inside a rocket that is sent up to float freely over the earth and stars, experiencing zero-gravity, before the capsule is returned to family and friends, who can keep the capsule as a memorial to their loved one.  Some companies also provide a professional video service, which allows loved ones to view the space burial and see the dream fulfilled of the deceased’s come finally true.

Whilst another memorial spaceflight company established in 2013, Elysium Space provides a collection and delivery services of ashes that are then sent into space. Friends and family of the deceased can also choose to use the engraving service available. Family members can engrave the initials onto the space capsules that contain the remains or DNA of the person who has passed.

There can also be a personal message of up to 80- characters created that can be put onto the metal plate that is then displayed in the spacecraft as it takes on its journey.

The company, created by Thomas Civeit who previously worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and for NASA also provides customers with a more personalised service. Customers will receive a scoop delivered to them by post so that they, (if they wish) can put the remains into a custom ash capsule. This is then sent back to the corporation.

After the spacecraft has been launched and started to orbit the earth, loved ones are able to track the deceased’s journey around space in real time through a mobile app.

How much does memorial spaceflight cost?

If you interested in having an alternative option to a typical funeral service such as a space burial, it is important to take into consideration that different types of memorial spaceflight can differ wildly in cost.

For example, ashes that are launched into space, (it should be noted that this is a symbolic portion of DNA into zero-gravity) before the remains return to earth can cost as little as $1,300 dollars. This space burial option has been more recently developed as a means of providing a more affordable memorial spaceflight service that can accommodate a greater variety of budgets.

Meanwhile, for other types of space burial, ashes that are launched into the earth’s orbit can cost upwards of $4,500 dollars, whilst if you opt for your ashes to orbit the moon this can cost upwards of $12,500 dollars, or leave the earth-moon system entirely and permanently traversing the cosmos can cost upwards of $14,500 dollars