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Will Virginia Give Tax Breaks For Post-Mortem Spaceflights?

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Sure, you could get buried beneath the earth when you die — but the future is here, people! Why not launch your cremated remains on an outer-space adventure?

If the post-mortem cosmic journey isn’t enough to get you to sign on the dotted line, at least one state delegate has another incentive under his helmet. Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore, of Scott County, proposes a tax break.

House Bill 19, which he pre-filed earlier this month, offers a personal tax deduction for the cost of a prepaid contract “to place the taxpayer’s human cremated remains into earth or lunar orbit from a spaceport facility operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.”

If passed by the General Assembly during its next session, which begins in January, a deduction of up to $8,000 would take effect in 2013.

That’s assuming the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority will offer the service. A secretary who answered the phone there only would say, “We don’t have any information other than what’s been released to the public at this time.”

A call and email to Kilgore, along with Zigmond Leszczynski, deputy director and director of operations for the space flight authority, weren’t returned by press time.

The authority, created by the General Assembly in 1995, operates MARS — the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, located at Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore. In November Gov. Bob McDonnell released a study of commercial space flight there, saying in a release that MARS is “one of only four facilities licensed by the FAA to send rockets into orbit.”

Another company that provides the ashes-to-space service, Houston-based Celestis, offers a variety of choices. They range in price from $995 — to send a gram of ashes on a space flight that returns to earth — to $37,500 for the Gemini Module Option, which launches 14 grams of ashes from you and a loved one into deep space.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to space dust.

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