'Space burials' on offer in Japan for a third the cost of UK burial

Elysium Space transports a 'symbolic portion' of the deceased's ashes into space alongside commercial satellite launches from the US

A company offering ‘space burials’ transporting loved ones’ ashes into the firmament has opened for business in Japan.

Elysium Space promises to make “space burial affordable for everyone”, charging customers $1,990 to transport “a symbolic portion of the remains from a cremation” into space alongside commercial and scientific satellites.

Families and friends are invited to watch the launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida - although the event will also be webcast – and then track the rocket’s flight with a specially created app.

“Depending on the initial altitude of the [launch], our memorial spacecraft will respectfully and peacefully orbit the Earth from a few months to several years,” says Elysium Space. “Eventually, in a last poetic moment, the spacecraft will harmlessly reenter the Earth's atmosphere, blazing as a shooting star.”

The company first announced their services in the US in August but has now expanded to Japan, with their first launch scheduled for summer 2014.

The decision to expand to Japanese shores seems particularly germane given the country’s rapidly aging population and weakening of family ties – a societal trait that had ensured that the expense of funerals was spread among individuals.

Bloomberg reports that the cost of renting a burial plot and buying a tomb stone in Tokyo is approximately 2.7 million yen, or £17,000.

This compares favourably to the $1,990 (£1,229) price charged by Elysium Space, though this only provides the desired gravitas of a funeral ceremony and doesn’t include the price of cremation itself.

Founded by an ex-Nasa engineer, Elysium Space must be enjoying a healthy demand for its services to allow overseas expansion, and perhaps it will open shop in the UK next.

Last month, academics in the UK called for a change in legislation to allow for graves older than 75 years to be ‘re-used’ to avert a “crisis”. Research suggests that nearly half of the UK’s ceremonies could be full within the next two decades, and that the cost of dying has risen 7.1 per cent from last year to an average of £7,622.

With the average burial in the UK now costing £3,914 and the average price of cremation estimated at £2,998 it might not be long until Elysium Space opens for business here as well. The price includes access to a mobile and tablet app that tracks the Elysium capsule's orbit, helping users to 'find' it in the night sky.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Guru Careers: 3D Creative Designer

    Up to £26k DOE: Guru Careers: A Junior / Mid-Level 3D Creative Designer is nee...

    Recruitment Genius: Pre-Sales Consultant / Presales Engineer / Sales Engineer

    £55000 - £75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software House that produces ...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Administrator

    £10000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Developer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency is looking ...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen