SACRAMENTO, California (KCRA) — For thousands of years, people have gazed into the sky and wondered “What lies beyond the heavens? What could possibly be among the stars?” And for a select few, the answer is “My ashes.”
A company called Celestis sends cremated remains of loved ones, and DNA of the living, into space.
The company takes between one and seven grams of human ashes, places them inside a capsule and has them attached as a secondary payload on a rocket.
The team at Celestis said they’ve worked in tandem with SpaceX, Spaceport American and others to shoot over 1,700 people into space since their first launch in 1997.
“It’s just overwhelmingly satisfying for the families, they get to see their loved one takeoff on this rocket and it provides a kind of closure,” said the president of Celestis, Colby Youngblood.
This week, a Sacramento area woman, Sy Vang, will join the elite group of people to grace outer space after death.
KCRA 3 spoke with Wendy Yang, Sy’s sister over Zoom. Wendy was traveling to the launch site in New Mexico where her sister’s ashes will soon be shot into orbit.
“When [my sister] passed, and I had her [body] cremated, I was thinking what’s another thing that she can do? She hasn’t traveled to space,” said Yang as she giggled over Zoom.
In life, Sy is described by her loved ones as kindhearted, loving and full of adventure.
Sy worked in the Sacramento area as a paralegal, and after raising her son, she decided to travel the world.
According to the Yang family, Sy traveled to over 30 different countries, climbed to the base camp of Mt. Everest and worked with refugees while teaching children around the world.
Sy died in Nov. 2020 after complications with ovarian cancer.
The Yang family said this is a way to honor Sy, allowing her the last adventure, even if it’s after her lifetime.
Celestis offers four different spaceflights:
– Earth Rise: A launch to space and return to Earth – Earth Orbit: Launch into Earth’s orbit – Luna: Launch to lunar orbit or surface – Voyager: Launch into deep space
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