The cremated ashes of 100 people were launched into outer space aboard a SpaceX rocket on Monday in a spectacular funeral sendoff to the stars.
According to Tech Times, the families of those individuals aboard the ship were charged $2,500 to send sample cremated remains of their late loved ones into space and can now track the spacecraft in real time via an app. The rocket will orbit the Earth for about four years before it falls back.
The memorial spaceflight company Elysium Space completed the launch as part of a “rideshare mission” organized by Spaceflight, which reportedly purchased the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to accommodate clients, ranging from government entities, business, and organizations who were seeking rideshare options in order to see their rocket launched into space.
“As demand for affordable launch options continues to grow, dedicated rideshare missions will play an important role in providing frequent and reliable access to space,” Spaceflight president Curt Blake said in a statement.
Among those taking the trip into space include the remains of military veterans and aerospace enthusiasts, as well as individuals whose families were “looking to celebrate a loved one within the poetry of the starry sky,” Elysium Space told CNN in an emailed statement.
The cremated remains were packed into a 4-inch square satellite known as a CubeSat and were engraved with the individual’s initials. Among those onboard include the ashes of James Eberling, a 36-year old photographer who passed in November of 2016. His family says he had been a missile and rocket enthusiast who had frequently visited Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to photograph the launches.
“We’re overjoyed to be able to grant him his final wish, and it means a lot to my husband and myself that we’re able to do this for him,” Eberling’s mother told Tech Times. “And I think that James is very, very happy to finally see that this is going to finally take place.”
This isn’t the first time Elysium has offered a unique space funeral for anyone wishing to see their loved ones’ remains reach the final frontier. According to CNN, the ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan, who played the character Scotty, were sent to space with 320 other sets of remains on another SpaceX rocket in 2012. Also on board that flight was the remains of Mercury 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper who piloted the longest and final spaceflight of the Project Mercury program.
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