Hightower: A Funeral Trek to Outer Space

Time now for another journey into the Far, Far FAR OUT Frontiers of Free Enterprise. Today, we take you to The Great Beyond -- or at least to a jumping-off point for The Great Beyond. Let me ask you: When your time comes, when you croak, how do you want to go out? Some want a pine box and a few kind words; some want six white horses and a jazz band; and some... well, some want to go out with an extra-special Big Bang! If you're in this last category, then Celestis Incorporated has a deal for you. For a fee, Celestis will take a lipstick-sized vial of your cremated remains, put it along with others aboard a rocket, and shoot the whole bunch of you out into space. The space tag: $4,800 per person -- not counting cremation. Yes, it's a bit pricey, but just think of the send-off: Your family and friends can gather at the California air force base that Celestis will use as a launch site and cheer, cry, sing, shout or whatever they feel like as you rocket through the ozone! But this is just the start of your other-space funeral trek. According to Celestis Inc., the rocket's payload will orbit earth for about ten years, allowing your loved ones to plot the coordinates in the sky and pay tribute every time you whiz by. Then comes the big finale. Slowly pulled back toward earth, you and your fellow travellers will re-enter the atmosphere in a decade or so and vaporize, "blaze like a shooting star." Thing it's all a joke? Already the ashes of more than a hundred people are booked for the initial "Founders' Flight." What a way to go!

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