Sending a deceased family member or loved one’s ashes into space may seem like an impossibly grand gesture, but San Francisco-based Elysium Space makes it possible. They’ve offered interstellar burials for a few years now, but yesterday they announced their Elysium Star II memorial spacecraft will hitch a ride on none other than one of Elon Musk’s rockets. And it costs less than the average cost of a funeral with a price tag of $2,500.
Elysium Space partnered with launch company Spaceflight in November, and yesterday announced ashes will be aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 on Spaceflight’s SSO-A rideshare mission. They’ll blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to Elysium Space, the memorial spacecraft – their dedicated satellite containing cremated remains – “will be deployed in a Sun-synchronous orbit, ensuring it will pass over every location in the world.”
A loved one’s ashes are placed in a capsule, which is marked with their initials. The capsules and personal messages are also included in the memorial spacecraft.
The satellite containing ashes will voyage among the stars for around two years before reentering the atmosphere and burning up – like a shooting star, according to Elysium Space. For those two years loved ones will be able to track the spacecraft in real time on a free app.
100 participants are booked, according to the company, and among them are United States military veterans and aerospace enthusiasts. CEO Thomas Civeit said in a statement, “We are honored to assist families in achieving their dreams, riding on one of the greatest rockets in the world. The historical launch provides the perfect conditions to make this memorial spaceflight an exceptionally meaningful experience for all participants.”