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I'd like a momento to travel in space, something small and personal. Are there companies that will arrange for transport to space (not near-space) and then return back to earth? Or, maybe just a one-way trip?

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  • $\begingroup$ I am pretty sure that there are not, at least not for anything less than a small fortune. It would have to be some private company, like SpaceX, and the odds that they would agree to that are very slim. $\endgroup$ – Phiteros Jul 30 '16 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ Would a suborbital trip do? I understand some amateur rockets have achieved suborbital space flights. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Jul 30 '16 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ @FredLarson One amateur rocket has achieved suborbital space flight, and it was very expensive (exact cost is unknown). $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Aug 2 '16 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ Depending on the object, I guess it might be included on a cubesat. Possibly with a BS excuse like 'test object for a new type of sensor/camera to be tested for performance in space" $\endgroup$ – SF. Aug 2 '16 at 15:39
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The "easiest" way I can think of to accomplish this is to make friends with an astronaut scheduled to fly aboard the ISS. I believe they aren't allowed to fly souvenirs for profit, but I imagine you could get away with asking them to carry a small item for you in their personal gear in exchange for some other favor.

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    $\begingroup$ +1. Or get a job as an astronaut instructor, crewmembers have been known to fly small personal articles for members of their training teams. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 31 '16 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ Or make friends with an engineer at SpaceX, or the folks at NASA who restock the ISS pantries. $\endgroup$ – Andrew W. Aug 1 '16 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ Or try to get parts of the depris of spaceX next unsuccesfull landing. $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Aug 2 '16 at 7:07
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I personally prefer methods other than sending it with an astronaut friend or a satellite launcher. It feels so great by designing and launching an amateur rocket which is not so hard these days. you can buy commercial off the shelf solid rocket boosters and design an optimal staging sequence and achieve a brief suborbital flight with miniature payloads.

I'd also propose using balloon assisted launches, but it needs more complex telemetry and recovery systems. But still possible as a personal project. This is also one of my ambitions for near future.

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  • $\begingroup$ also, there are companies who arrange memorial services of sending your (or relatives) ashes to sub-orbital, orbital or even escape trajectories (try Celestis.com). I think It's possible to arrange to fill the canister with something other than ash. $\endgroup$ – AliRD Jul 31 '16 at 9:23
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    $\begingroup$ The asker wants it to go to space, not near space, so model rockets and balloons won't help him. Only one team has ever launched an amateur rocket to space, and that wasn't cheap. $\endgroup$ – kim holder Jul 31 '16 at 21:31
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There are companies that sell the excess capacity on boosters. It's limited to small satellites and you have to choose from whatever sizes & orbits they have available and you accept that your payload only flies if the real one does.

It's still very expensive, though. Obviously these are one-way trips unless you include a deorbit and reentry system--and that would be expensive indeed. Assuming the object to be orbited contains nothing that could possibly threaten a spacecraft I would expect you could find one that would take it.

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