The traditional funeral is about to get a space-age makeover. Elysium Space will soon be launching people'sashes into outer space. The pioneeringmemorial spaceflight company announced that itsElysium Star II craft will be onboard aSpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The startup is comprised mostly of former ex-NASA personnel and so-called "funeral experts." In late 2017, Elysium Space announced plans to team up with Spaceflight, a provider of launch and mission management services. As part of the partnership, the companies hope to reduce the rather lengthy wait times for such "space funerals" from years to months.
Once customers are registered, they receive a kit with a capsulefor their loved one's ashes. This is then shipped to Elysium Space, at which point the capsule is placed inside of the spacecraft. After launch, the capsule containing the ashes will orbit the Earth for two years. Elysium Space also plans torelease a companion app that allows customersto track the spacecraft as it orbits the planet. As part ofthis descending orbit, the capsule will eventually incinerate upon reentry, allowing your loved one to go out in a literal flaming ball of glory.
There are currently 100 bookings for the initialElysium Star II mission and the total cost to send a single capsule of ashes to space will bejust shy of $2,500. This price will surely only decrease as SpaceX continues to advance its rocketry systems and drive down the cost of each launch. The company made history earlier this year when it successfully launched and landed a recycled rocket. This cost-saving strategy has helped pave the way for startups like Elysium Space and others.
In all fairness, Elysium Space is far from the first entityto launch human ashes into space. A capsule containingStarTrekcreator Gene Roddenberry's ashes was carried to space onboard STS-52, a 1992 space shuttle mission. Similarly,Clyde Tombaugh, the human who discovered Pluto, had his ashes stored in vial aboard the New Horizons spacecraft. That said, Mr. Tombaugh's ashes will be the first human remains to exit our solar system.
The Elysium Space mission launchdate has yet to be confirmed, although it will take place at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.