Heaven Sent: Blast Your Ashes Into Space

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Instead of giving your loved ones a traditional burial, why not send them off in style with a memorial spaceflight? That's the vision of Elysium Space, a company that aims to launch portions of cremated human remains into space.

Under Elysium Space's plan, human ashes will launch into space and orbit the Earth for several months before burning up in the atmosphere as a "shooting star." The company has already launched a mobile app to track ashes in orbit, and hopes to launch its first memorial flight in 2014.

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"A memorial spaceflight is a unique experience for family and friends to make a memory and remember a loved one," said Elysium Space founder Thomas Civeit, a former NASA engineer. "We believe that now is the time to change the vision of death from the Underground to the Celestial." (Video: Watch a small rocket launch human ashes into space)

The company is contracting with commercial space transportation companies such as Orbital Sciences and SpaceX, Civeit told SPACE.com, and the first launch is slated for summer 2014 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Elysium Space isn't the first company to offer memorial spaceflights for the deceased.

The Houston-based firm Celestis, Inc. has been launching human ashes into space since 1997. Its inaugural flight carried the remains of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry.

When Elysium Space customers purchase a memorial spaceflight, they will receive a kit with an ash capsule, which can be engraved with up to three initials, and a mini-scoop for transferring "a symbolic portion" of ashes to the capsule, according to a product description. The price of a launch is currently set at $1,990.

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