From the Commercial Space Transportation Study, May 1994, page 389, section, "Management and Policy":

The issue that kept Celestis from actually offering this service on a nationwide basis was not a technical or marketing problem, but a Florida state law that governed the local funeral industry. That law forces any company selling future burial contracts to place the money in trust with a very limited percentage allowed for operating expenses prior to the actual burial. This works for a cemetery that only requires minor grounds keeping but limits access to rocket launch providers who want and need money up front.

Celestis tried to convince the state that they were only a transportation service. However, the mortuary industry in Florida has, not surprisingly, a very strong lobby and they want to restrict cremation as much as possible. Caskets, tombstones, and family mausoleums are much more profitable. Celestis is currently trying to find a state to incorporate in that has more lenient preneed contract entrustment laws. The United States is the only country that has this type of funeral industry regulation.

The issue is significant due to the modern nature of the funeral industry. Preneed contracts are the most rapidly growing part of the industry. Nationally they account for 50% to 60% of all business, and that percentage is growing. In Florida it is over 90%. The contracts are insured by individual states and the funeral industry as a group. Nearly bankrupt funeral homes or cemeteries are quietly purchased by conglomerates and their preneed contracts honored to maintain the integrity of the business as a whole.

Entrustment laws pose a much smaller problem if a commercial launch service is developed that has the financial resources to await payment until immediately before or after launch. The national average time period between purchase of a preneed contract and customer death is 7 to 10 years.

This page is part of Jim Kingdon's space markets page.