Since we featured on Dragon’s Den, we’ve had an influx of inquiries about the Ascension service – how it works, whether it’s safe, what our availability is and how much it costs, to name a few. We wanted to give a little more background on Ascension, how our experience in high altitude launching led to its creation and how you can get involved.
What is Ascension?
Ascension is a completely unique way to celebrate the life of a loved one after their passing. We launch the ashes of the deceased to the edge of space and scatter them to the stratospheric winds that encircle the globe, making the whole world their final resting place. As a lasting memorial, we can also film the flight up into Near Space, capturing the moment of release set against the stunning backdrop of the Earth seen from above, the thin blue line of our atmosphere and the inky blackness of space.
How does it work?
We at Sent Into Space are considered the Near Space experts. Since 2011, we’ve conducted over 250 high altitude balloon flights for projects in areas as diverse as education, manufacturing, scientific research and publicity. We fill a latex balloon with lighter-than-air gas, attach a payload box containing tracking, control and camera equipment and release the balloon, following its progress as it rises to four times the height of Mount Everest, bursts and is brought back down to Earth on a purpose-built near space parachute.
We use precise measuring equipment and flight path predictors to calculate the journey the balloon will take so we can swiftly retrieve our payload and collect the results of our flight. We’ve never lost a payload yet, although some have taken longer to retrieve than others (Britain has a lot of woodland).
For Ascension, we’ve spent nine months designing, testing, revising and perfecting a mechanism to scatter ‘cremains’ in a beautiful shower, triggered by reaching the perfect altitude for global dispersion and breathtaking visuals. Now, we’re gearing up to bring this service to funeral homes and individual clients across the country.
Why scatter ashes in space?
Whether we’re educating a classroom full of excited children, testing the limits of cutting edge technologies or expanding scientific understanding of the precious atmosphere that surrounds our planet, we have one goal – to make space seem a little nearer for everyone. Since we started the company, one of the most common requests we’ve had is whether we can scatter ashes at the edge of space and on reflection, we understand why.
When you’re celebrating the life of an explorer, a traveller, an adventurer, why limit yourself to a single place, instead of, simply, everywhere? Our bodies are made from the remnants of stellar explosions, billions of years ago. Returning to the skies above, to settle across the globe, is a fitting tribute to anyone who’s ever looked up and marvelled at the unimaginable vastness of our universe.
…unsafe? Every aspect of this process has been designed to minimise the risk of harm or damage. Balloon releases in the UK are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority and we work closely with them to ensure that we don’t cause problems for anyone else operating in UK airspace. Our payloads return to Earth on a parachute, coming down at a brisk walking pace, and are usually retrieved within minutes of landing. We only launch when the flight path shows that the payload will land in a remote, unpopulated area. And we have full public liability insurance!
…unreliable? We’ve conducted over 250 launches and have a 100% success rate. We’ve spent nearly a year developing every aspect of the Ascension process so that we can say with confidence that we can conduct your memorial launch without a hitch.
…unhygienic? Cremains are sterile and non-toxic. Human ashes are often scattered on gardens or planted with trees as the minerals in them act as nutrients for plant life. From our scattering altitude, the remains will be spread evenly across the Earth in minute, indiscernible amounts. All human remains are handled with the greatest respect and consideration for the deceased and their loved ones.
…expensive? When it comes to our loved ones, especially when we’re saying goodbye, we want to ensure that everything is perfect to capture their life and memories. That said, we’ve done our very best to make this service as accessible as possible. We have a range of packages to suit all requirements, with prices starting from under £800.
I’m interested. What now?
If you’re a funeral director who wants to offer the Ascension service through your funeral home or crematorium, send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll send you a digital copy of our handbook explaining every element of the process from a practical perspective.
If you’re considering a launch for a friend, relative or even for your future self, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about the perfect launch for you or your loved one. We can launch from most locations within the United Kingdom and internationally and can work with a funeral director as required to turn your launch into a full memorial ceremony.
If the Ascension process isn’t what you’re looking for right now, but the prospect of conducting a near space launch for yourself has snatched your attention, why not check out the rest of our site? We offer managed launches for private and corporate clients, as well as guidance and do-it-yourself kits for the adventurous space enthusiasts among you.