A company known as Celestis offers a memorial service in which the cremated remains of loved ones can be launched into space. This is known as a memorial space flight. Though it may sound a bit gruesome to launch cremated remains into space it's actually considered an honor. Cremation is always a green alternative and since the rocket used is already going into space anyway this idea is no less green than sprinkling ashes into a lake.
You might launch cremated remains as a memorial to honor someone who has made a contribution to space exploration. The memorial can also honor a person who always dreamed of going into space but never had the opportunity.
Some famous people who were honored by a cremated remains memorial space launch are, Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek Creator), and James Doohan (Scotty) also of Star Trek fame.
The principle of a cremated remains memorial space launch is simple. A portion of the cremated remains are placed in a specially designed space capsule within the Celestis space craft. The Celestis craft is attached to the rocket fired into space.
The space flight memorial service is priced between 995. for a space flight with return to earth to 12,500. for a launch into deep space. There are a variety of flights which carry cremated remains, dependent on the destination of the host flight.
The memorial launch is an actual mission. Celestis contracts with various companies to allow cremated remains to ride along with the mission.
There are facilities available to view the launch of all cremated remains. There are also pre-flight memorial services for those attending the launch. This is all part of the package offered. Any transportation to and from the launch is the sole responsibility of the participants.
Guests not able to attend the launch of the cremated remains can watch a video of it and the memorial service. In some cases there may be global web casts as well. One copy of the video comes with the launch package. There is a fee for additional copies.
Celestis has also contracted with Odyssey Moon Limited and Astrobotic Technology Inc. to provide the launch of cremated remains to the moon. The capsules will be encased within lunar landers on these missions so that when they land on the moon they will act as a memorial.
According to Celestis, In 1998 they provided a launch for the cremated remains of astronomer and planetary geologist, Dr. Eugene Shoemaker. The capsule was sent with Lunar Prospector on a one year mission orbiting the moon.
At the end of the mission, the spacecraft was intentionally impacted into the moon's South Pole, making Dr. Shoemaker the first person laid to rest on a celestial body other than earth.
This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.