The cremated remains of 100 people were among the contents of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was fired off Monday.
The project was carried about by San Francisco-based company Elysium Space, which charged loved ones about US$2,490 to have a sample of the remains sent into space.
The SpaceX spacecraft, which was also carrying dozens of other small satellites, lifted off Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
While unusual for many, the company’s website boasts that the “everlasting memorial” means loved ones can be remembered anytime and anywhere simply by looking up.
“This poetic tribute offers you the opportunity to have a permanent memorial that is with you each and every night, the starry sky above,” it reads.
Along with the remains, families can send initials and a personal message. They are also invited to a launch viewing event and a video of the launch.
The flights into space were organized by the company in partnership with Spaceflight, a “ride-sharing” company for space missions.
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Spaceflight also arranged for several other spacecraft to be sent with the SpaceX Falcon 9 from companies that bought space.
Elysium Space isn’t the only company that offers the service, and it’s definitely not the first time ashes have been sent into space.
A small amount of astronomer Eugene Shoemaker’s remains were crashed into the moon in 1998 during NASA’s Lunar Prospector mission.
In 2012, the remains of Star Trek actor James Doohan were sent into space along with 230 others.
While it costs thousands, sending remains into space can be important for many families.
For one U.S. family, it meant fulfilling the final wish of their 36-year-old son who died in November 2016.
Beverly Eberling told CNN that her son’s remains were among those sent with the Elysium Space mission, and that it was his last wish.
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It took lots of research and waiting, but Eberling told CNN that she is “overjoyed” it was a success.
“It means a lot to my husband and myself that we’re able to do this for him. And I think that James is very, very happy to finally see that this is going to finally take place.”
Along with a portion of his ashes, the family sent this message into space: “James, you were a grounded Eagle on Earth — may you now soar thru the Heavens.”
— With files from the Associated Press
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