One of the 64 small satellites launched into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Monday carried cremated remains of 100 people, including former veterans and space enthusiasts.
The space burial was provided by the San Francisco-based company Elysium Space. With a price tag of 2,500 U.S. dollars, customers can send a one gram sample of ashes into space on board a 26-square-centimeter satellite called a cubesat, reports thedailybeast.com.
After the remains enter orbit, the families can track the coordinate of the satellite online in real time. After four years, it will re-enter the atmosphere in an uncontrolled reentry, according to Thomas Cievit, the founder and CEO of Elysium Space.
The first launch of human ashes into space took place in 1992, when the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddneberry were launched into orbit and returned to earth on board NASA's space shuttle Columbia. The first private space burial was in 1997, with the launch of the remains of 24 people into space over the Canary Islands. The satellite carrying their remains re-entered the atmosphere in 2002.
The cost of private space burial is expected to fall as the service becomes more popular in the future.