Memorial Launch

See your loved one's final journey to be scattered in space in a beautiful, personalised video memorial.

 

A launch day

A Memorial Launch flies from one of our three dedicated launch sites across the UK. Each is a quiet location in the countryside with beautiful views of the local landscape, and can accommodate as many attendees as you wish to invite.

On the morning of the launch, our team will transfer the ashes into our bespoke scattering vessel, which will carry them into space and scatter them in a gentle cascade.

Our team will usually arrive at the launch location at around 10 to 11 am, depending on the location and the time of year. If you would prefer an alternative launch time, please let our team know and we'll do our best to accommodate.

Once at the launch site, the team will set up the tracking system and begin filling the balloon with the lighter-than-air gas used to lift the mechanism into space. Filling should take no more than an hour, during which time some people choose to share stories and treasured memories of the departed.

The team will seal off the balloon and activate the cameras which will capture the flight and the moment of release. After a final systems check, you and your guests can count down as we release the flight system into the air. If desired, we can play music or a recorded message of your choice at the moment of departure.

 A park showing one of our dedicated launch sites

The flight

The balloon will rise at a steady rate for 90 minutes. As the external pressure drops, the balloon will expand to over 15 metres in diameter. The flight system will ascend to 100,000 feet and the on-board computer will begin the controlled release of the ashes, all captured on video using our space-optimised cameras.

The ashes will be carried around the world on stratospheric winds, circling the globe for days or even weeks. Eventually, they will cause clouds to form and fall back to Earth as rainfall or snow. Trace nutrients in the ashes will fertilise the earth, supporting the growth of new life wherever they land.

After the scatter has taken place, the balloon will rise faster until it reaches its maximum diameter and bursts. The mechanism will make a controlled descent via parachute. Our team will track the payload throughout the flight, usually recovering the mechanism within minutes of landing. The balloon will break into small fragments which will return to the Earth. The balloon is made of undyed natural latex which is nontoxic and will degrade at the same rate as an oak leaf, leaving no harmful traces.

Following the flight, our in-house editing team will take the footage from the flight and produce a beautiful memorial video showing the ascent and the scattering, set to music of your choice. We'll also send you a certificate signed by our directors, listing the name, birth and death date of the departed and a personal message, along with the date, time and launch location of the flight.

 The Earth as seen from space on a Near Space high altitude balloon flight

Booking and planning

If you have a preferred launch date, we always aim to meet your request. Our flight paths are largely dependent on weather conditions, so to minimise the risk of a cancellation we assign a launch window of one or two weeks to every launch. We can forecast flight paths with increasing accuracy in the week preceding the launch window and in most circumstances we can launch on your preferred date. We can provide three days' notice of any changes to flight schedule.

The Memorial Launch costs £2195. We currently conduct flights Monday to Friday throughout the year. If you have a preferred launch date, talk to our team. We can often conduct a flight within two weeks of confirmation if required, or we accept bookings up to a year in advance. If you have any questions or would like to make a booking, use the 'Talk to our team' button below.

 Ascension Flights mnager Dan Blaney checking a computer screen with near space flight path predictions