How often have you gazed up at the celestial sphere and secretly wished to be there, frolicking among the stars. Well the truth remains that you never toiled hard to be able to go to NASA. The other bitter truth is that you can never break a bank to book a flight through Virgin Galactic that will cost $200,000 for a two-hour trip to space. So there, your wild blue yonder dreams come back to the land of mortals. But hey wait, if the mission of this newly launched US-based start-up gets accomplished your dreams may undertake that fanciful flight – well, posthumously!
Space burial at $1,990
Established in 2013, Elysium Space, a San Francisco-based company has pledged to send the cremated remains of the departed souls out into space for $1,990. Pegged as a profound obituary for your loved ones while they are up there under the watch-care of angels, you can sign up at Elysium Space to conduct a space burial and a dignified memorial spaceflight services. Considering the average funeral costing in US which is roughly $6,000, according to the National Funeral Director’s Association, Elysium’s costs definitely sound like a good deal. The origin of the name of the start-up is derived from Greek mythology and it means state of perpetual happiness!
Before you get spaced-out, here’s more! According to the company website, “Elysium Space offers awe-inspiring celestial services to honor and celebrate the life of someone you love.” A spacecraft containing capsulated cremated ashes will be launched into Earth orbit for several months. Kith and kin of the former loved ones can follow the orbital journey via a special and free mobile app, which will show the spacecraft’s current location. Finally, the spacecraft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere, blazing as a shooting star.
“Whole experience is surreal”- says participants
Participants get a kit with a custom ash capsule that they can scoop their loved ones’ remains into. The capsule is then shipped back to Elysium Space and then the company places it into the spacecraft with a personal message engraved onto the spacecraft’s metal plates. While all this may sound gimmicky to a section of society, there are several people who have already participated in such launch events and find the whole experience surreal.
Founded by NASA software engineer Thomas Civeit, Elysium Space has already inked contracts with several space flight companies. The whole cosmic experience includes delivery of custom ash capsules to space, an engraving of the loved one’s initials on these capsules, the printing of a 80-character personal remembrance message on metal plate to be displayed on the spacecraft, and a video of the event. What’s more? There’s also a certificate honoring the completion of the mission.
Mobile app makes tracking the process easy
The free mobile app paired with the service can help families track their loved ones in the skies. It’s only on Android for now, but Civeit plans to launch an iOS version soon.
Interestingly about 80,000 other people are already signing up for a one-way trip to Mars, where Dutch non-profit organization Mars One hopes to establish a colony. The downside is that the ambitious flight doesn’t take off until 2022. There is also another venture called Celestis that is a part of this NewSpace movement. Since 1997, this private company has conducted numerous post-cremation memorial burials, usually as part of a third-party space mission. If Elysium Space delivers what they guarantee, this concept will give a whole new meaning to tribute services, wherein people could prearrange their own memorial spaceflights for the future.
Elysium Space’s website claims that they do not create any orbit pollution and fulfill their obligation fully, lovingly, and with compassion. The launches take place in Florida and in case there is a technical glitch or failure, there’s a guarantee that they will reschedule the flight at no additional costs. The next launch is scheduled for summer 2014 and the registrations are open. So tell us after reading this are you gazing at the stars again with brand new fascination?