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Aura Flights engineer using rugged laptop at golden hour

Launching Safely

Launching a flight into space is a complex technical challenge and a monument to human achievement. Our space scattering process is designed from the ground up for safety, security and reliability, to ensure that every passenger receives a fitting send-off.

Flight planning

In order to launch, we need flight paths which avoid restricted airspace and land in rural locations, as well as low wind speeds on the ground and in the stratosphere. We’re able to launch safely most days of the year thanks to a combination of advanced data-driven climate modelling, close partnerships with regulators, and a number of permanent launch sites across the country.

Our team continuously monitor worldwide weather conditions and trends to identify dates with low wind speeds across the relevant altitude bands. With sophisticated climate simulation software, we can use this weather data — collected from over 100,000 sources worldwide — to create a model of the wind conditions over the United States across the following week and calculate flight paths to within 100 metres. This lets us fine-tune our launch setups to avoid restricted airspace and other air traffic, and land in open countryside or farmland, far from any urban areas, industrial sites or large bodies of water.

High altitude balloon silhouette in front of golden hour Sun on ascent into space

Safety during the flight

To ensure other airspace users will be aware of the launch, we issue a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) for each launch, and the spacecraft is equipped with a transponder and a radar reflector to make it highly visible while in flight.

During the flight, dual-network trackers send real-time positional data to our team on the ground every three seconds. While the spacecraft is airborne, our team travel to the projected landing site, refining the weather simulations and landing predictions with the live data from the craft. This means we know where the craft is at all times. In most cases, we see the craft touch down and recover it within minutes of touchdown, although when the landing site is in open countryside, it may take some time to reach on foot.

The spacecraft is equipped with a self-activating parachute system to bring the craft down at a gentle walking pace. In the unlikely event of a collision, the empty scatter vessel is slow and light meaning there is no risk of damage, however, we maintain full public and commercial liability insurance for complete peace of mind.

Aura Flights team member holding high altitude balloon duing fill

Regulatory compliance & risk management

For your and our confidence, we pride ourselves on meeting and beating all regulatory requirements across the aerospace and funeralcare industries.

Spaceflights in the USA are regulated by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Every flight is approved, logged and announced to pilots and other airspace users through the official channels. We are one of the only companies in the world licensed and insured for commercial balloon-powered spaceflight.

In addition to our position in the space industry, we are also associate members of the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD) and the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), following all their guidelines and recommendations for suppliers in the funeral industry.

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