SpaceX is Sending Loved Ones' Ashes Into Space on a Memorial Mission

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 - 9:50PM
SpaceX
Science News
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 - 9:50PM
SpaceX is Sending Loved Ones' Ashes Into Space on a Memorial Mission
NASA/Tony Gray

Elon Musk's SpaceX has been crossing a lot of cool stuff of their to-do list lately. Most recently, their Falcon 9 Rocket completed a perfect landing after dropping off a not-so-secret spy satellite, and that was shortly after they proved recycling spacecrafts was feasible.

The latest SpaceX news is quite different than all that, and headed in a much more commercial direction, as they're gearing up to take cremated remains into space for a two-year flight that will pass over every location on Earth. Elysium Space will be orchestrating the event on its Elysium Star II memorial spacecraft, which will launch from SpaceX's facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

For the reasonable price of $2,490, anyone can reserve a spot within a CubeSat to have their deceased loved one see the world from above. Although SpaceX is not the first to take on this endeavor - Celestis Memorial Spaceflights also sends remains into space - but they are the first to do it for such a low price (about $10,000 less).


There are three hundred spaces and one hundred have already been filled - the low price makes it so more people can afford to send their loved ones into outer space. If everything goes according to plan, family members can track the rocket on a mobile app in real time, and when the two years is up, watch the landing. Elysium Founder Thomas Civeit spoke to Gizmodo about the appeal of the mission:

Opening quote
"It gives an opportunity to remember a loved one by watching the night sky. The same way you can watch a beautiful landscape, people like to watch the stars...it's a connective experience to remember someone in the context of the night."
Closing quote


If this catches on and proves to be a profitable sector for SpaceX, this might become a more regular occurrence. Some people shell out cash for gravestones and plots, others for trips to outer space. It's always interesting to see the differences between a private company, like SpaceX, and a government agency, like NASA. While SpaceX does funnel a lot of money into research and exploration, it's interesting to see them opening up a ride like that of an amusement park.

It's also beneficial to space enthusiasts, because this could be the beginning of many steps toward the great vast darkness becoming a space that both the rich and the not-so-rich have access to.

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