SpaceX prepares for the third launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket: the world's most powerful operational launch system.
The mission named Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) is scheduled to take off between 11:30 p.m. ET on June 24 and 2:30 pm ET on June 25, depending on the weather.
Then the rocket will transport 24 satellites into orbit around the Earth – and the ashes of 152 dead.
The launch of cremated remains is facilitated by a company called Celestis Memorial Spaceflights, which buys space available for spacecraft, installs a container, and then packs it with small metal capsules filled with ashes. It refers to these as "participants".
However, for this ashes to go into orbit as intended, SpaceX must first pull through what Elon Musk, the founder of the rocket company, described as -2 "our most difficult launch so far".
The diversity and complexity of the two dozen satellites and their payloads is to blame: According to SpaceX, the various spaceships must be stationed in different orbits with several combustion engines. On one of the satellites is NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock, which may alter the way robots and astronauts navigate space. Another is the Planetary Society's LightSail, an experiment that could change the way vehicles move to a destination.
The ash capsules are stowed on the same spaceship as the NASA watch.
How SpaceX transports human ashes into orbit
SpaceX has already put Cremains into orbit, but the company does not work directly with families to remind relatives by flying their ashes into space.
This responsibility goes to Celestis. Since its inception in 1994, the company has flown Cremains with 15 different rockets: eight suborbital flights and flights, six into orbit and one that crashed against the moon.
Current and future "participants" include children, space enthusiasts, scientists, engineers, astronauts, authors and more. For example, in 1998, Celestis brought ash from geologist and planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker to the moon, bringing the remains of "Star Trek" actor James "Scotty" Doohan into orbit in 2008 and even more awaiting a future "Enterprise" flight into the US Outer space.)
For SpaceX's STP-2 mission, Celestis bought spare space aboard the Orbital Test Bed, which (among other things) flies NASA's experimental atomic clock.
The Celestis Payload is a flat metal shell. The technicians stuck each of the 152 capsules in the sleeve and then bolted them to the upper deck of the satellite.
A family can choose to fly between 1 gram and 7 grams of ash (between a dollar bill and the mass of a dollar coin).
"The Gemini capsules contain two 1-gram people, and the Flight Module holds 7 grams of a person," said a spokesman for the Smithsonian Channel who produced a documentary about Celestis titled "Heavenly Bodies." opposite Business Insider. "Most people choose to fly 1 gram in a single capsule.
Many capsules have engraved gravestone-like slogans and the inscription of a capsule flying aboard the upcoming STP-2 mission flight reads," Reach for the stars ! And another says "Space Truckin 'Forever." The capsule of a now deceased couple says, "LIFT TOGETHER!"
Prices for shipping ash into space begin, according to the Celestis website, at just under $ 5,000 for orbits Deep and moon flights start at $ 12,500.
If you do not consider this an attractive end-of-life option, there are more and more alternatives to tra additional burial and cremation, with more and more states allowing preservative-free "green" burials, while others meanwhile, allow body composting and even the dissolution of corpses by alkaline hydrolysis.
You can even make friends, family and pets eerie bl mold diamonds outside.