Does Mesoloft provide the funeral service?
While we don't provide the actual funeral service, we are happy to be a part of any customer-provided service and we can coordinate the launch to be seamlessly integrated into the service. Contact us for details and pricing.
How are the remains dispersed?
When the balloon reaches proper altitude, the bottom door on the custom payload urn opens. This is when the vacuum of space, along with gravity itself, draws the ashes out from the insert container.
Is it safe to scatter cremated remains?
Yes, in 1997 the EPA determined that aerial ash scattering was safe and has no significant effect on the environment. Since cremation occurs at a very high temperature, the resulting purified ashes are sterile and quite safe.
How long do the ashes stay up?
Scientists don't really know how long the ashes will remain aloft so we look to volcanoes as a model. While volcanic ash does not go nearly as high as our balloons, we do know it can take many months for the ashes to settle back to earth. Ashes from volcanoes can travel the planet before settling down.
Tell me more about the video
We use two high definition video recorders to record the launch from start to finish. The view at 20 miles high, where the ashes are released is quite spectacular.
How much of the remains do you send up?
Our standard package allows for the launch of up to 3 pounds of ashes. Our memorial package allows for the total amount of your loved one's ashes to scattered. However, it is quite common for families to retain some of the ashes for sentimental reasons.
Where do you launch from?
Our primary launch site is just outside Bend, OR. We can bring the launch to your preferred location upon request and covered travel costs. Please contact us to discuss details and pricing.
How do I get the ashes to you?
In most cases, we can arrange a local funeral home to process the remains for shipment, free of charge to our customers. The cremated remains (ashes) can be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service "registered mail-return receipt requested". They must be packaged in a sift proof container and labeled as "cremated remains (ashes)". The Postal Service can further assist you with these instructions.
How does the onsite service work?
We have amazing flexibility using balloons, and MesoLoft can launch from just about any location in the US except for a few FAA restricted areas. If the geography is particularly challenging (like the Himalayas) we may require additional recovery costs. International rules vary by country and may require additional lead time for visa applications. Almost any service is possible, just ask! Additional travel costs will apply.
What guarantee do you offer?
While the launch and release of the cremains are highly reliable there is always some risk of losing the flight vehicle. In the event we cannot provide the video we will return the customers deposit.
What are the payment terms?
We accept every major credit card and PayPal for domestic and international orders. 50% deposit due at booking with remaining due prior to shipping of the commemorative package.
What does the customer receive with each package?
The standard package includes: The entire unedited footage of your loved one's launch, an edited version of the video that includes the highlights, and the shroud in which your loved one was carried to the edge of the atmosphere. The Memorial Package includes all of the above as well as: a commemorative photo album with still photos from the launch, flight, and recovery, a personalized memorial video, as well as a blog post on our website about your loved one.
How do I receive the videos?
We are happy to provide you with the videos in just about any form you'd prefer. We can provide the videos via USB drive, DVD, download link, and/or on our YouTube page. We recommend using our YouTube page due to how easy you can then share the video to others via email or social network.
How high does the balloon typically go?
Our custom balloons typically soar about 15 miles high, this is more than 3x higher than the typical airline flight. This is the upper end of the stratosphere close to the mesosphere, called near space. At this altitude, the atmosphere is more like space with a 99 percent vacuum than the atmosphere experienced on the surface of the earth.
How long does it take?
From start to finish it takes about two hours. Sometimes the wind will carry the balloon longer distances requiring a longer recovery.
How do you track the balloon?
We use three independent tracking systems on every flight. The first line system relays GPS coordinates via the Iridium satellite network, this provides us real time location we can make available to our customers. The second system relays GPS via ground-based radio. The third system uses an RF emitter and ground-based antenna for triangulation. Finally, for nighttime recovery in the event of GPS failure we use a IR strobe visible for several miles.
You mention ashes returning to earth in the form of rain drops or snow flakes, how does this work?
For rain or snow to fall, the formless water vapor in clouds needs nuclei, cores, to collect upon. As the ash passes back through clouds containing supercooled water, which is water that is below freezing temperature but has not frozen because it lack a nucleus to coalesce around. The ashes can attract water by vapor deposition and increase in size, to the point that they can serve as nuclei for droplet formation! For more details, go to www.mesoloft.com/science.