NEW YORK – Celestis Inc., a provider of so-called “space burial” services in the United States, has scheduled a post-cremation memorial spaceflight for the ashes of 208 people from around the world, including 63 from Japan, at the end of this month, company officials said Friday.
The number of Japanese included in the service is the highest number ever in the U.S., they said.
Space burial is a memorial service that began in 1997 in the United States. In the service, a small sample of cremated ashes from the deceased is placed in a capsule and launched into space via rocket.
The idea of being “buried” in space has attracted an increasing number of people. The number of Japanese who have asked for the service has grown to the second highest on its list following Americans, said a Celestis spokesperson.
The rocket for the upcoming service will be launched at the U.S. military facility on the Marshall Islands. It carries a satellite that contains the capsules of the ashes — ranging from 1 gram to 14 grams per person.
The satellite will circle the earth for several years before burning up in the atmosphere. The service costs from around $2,500 (about ¥270,000) to $7,500.
For security reasons, the specific date for the launch will not be announced and family members of the deceased will not be allowed to witness the launch.