SAN FRANCISCO — Elysium Space, the San Francisco startup that sends cremated remains into orbit, announced plans May 16 to launch its Elysium Star 2 memorial spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rideshare mission next year from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If the rocket reaches orbit, it will be the firm's first successful spaceflight.
Elysium Space attempted to send a cubesat into orbit in 2015 on the maiden flight of the U.S. Air Force Super Strypi rocket. When that launch failed, Elysium invited customers who provided remains for that flight to join the next mission.
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Elysium plans to send into orbit a single unit cubesat that can accommodate 300 small boxes of ashes. So far, approximately 100 customers have signed up for the flight, said Elysium Founder Thomas Civeit.
Unlike most Silicon Valley startups that are venture capital backed, Elysium funds its operations through revenue. Customers who sign up for memorial low-Earth-orbit flights on Elysium's website pay $2,490 to reserve their spot.
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On Aug. 21, the moon will completely blot out the sun for observers in 12 states, from Oregon to South Carolina, in the first total solar eclipse visible...
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