Launching cremated remains now a booming business at Cape Canaveral

ORLANDO, Fla. — Editor’s note: This story is available as a result of a content partnership between WFTV and the Orlando Business Journal.

Gathered to view the historic launch of the Vulcan Centaur V on Dec. 24 from Cape Canaveral, one set of spectators will be looking on in a different light. Perched at Spaceview Park in Titusville, they’ll be watching as the cremated remains of their loved ones take to the skies.


“You’ll never see as much cheering and high-fiving at a funeral as you do at one of our launches. It’s a very emotional experience,” said CEO and Co-Founder Charles Chafer of Houston-based Celestis Inc.

Chafer’s privately owned company has orchestrated memorial spaceflights since 1997, when a Northrup Grumman Pegasus rocket launching from the Canary Islands carried capsules of the ashes of 24 people. The individual flight capsules remained within the Celestis spacecraft throughout its orbit and re-entered the atmosphere May 20, 2002, northeast of Australia. Each customer paid $4,495. Today, a similar package costs $2,995.

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