|November 26, 2021
— "Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky."
How do you make a diamond more precious than it already is? Like the nursery rhyme says, fly it high.
The Space Collective, a space memorabilia dealer that has previously launched clothing labels and name tags into Earth orbit, has announced its latest offering: "Space Diamonds."
"Give the gift of the stars with a genuine Space Diamond that is scheduled to be launched into space up to the International Space Station in October 2022!" wrote Richard Garner, proprietor of The Space Collective.
More than just a quick trip to the space station and back, the diamonds will be mounted with science experiments on a platform outside of the orbital complex for at least six months. The diamonds will then be retrieved and packed on board a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for their return to Earth.
While diamond grading does not usually consider the distances traveled, the owners of the flown Space Diamonds will be able to say that theirs have logged approximately 75 million miles (1,905 km) circling the planet some 6,000 times. Each diamond is laser engraved for authentication purposes.
The Space Collective has for sale a selection of diamonds to choose from, ranging in price from $2,500 for a 0.3 carat excellent cut stone to $45,000 for a full 2 carats — spaceflight included.
The Space Diamonds will fly as part of The Space Collective's sixth payload to launch to the space station as part of a partnership with Aegis Aerospace, the space and technology company that operates the MISSE (Materials International Space Station Experiment) platform. Originally a NASA payload that was deployed from the space shuttle, MISSE has now been commercialized "to make it as easy as possible for [Aegis'] customers to demonstrate new technologies."
Garner chose to launch diamonds because they were among the most commonly requested items, alongside people's personal photos, which is now also available.
"Send your family, friends or even your pets into space on a six-month mission to the International Space Station with our "send your photo to space" service!" wrote Garner on The Space Collective's website.
Limited to just 100 photos at $499 each, submitted image files need to be high enough resolution and sized to print at 4.1 by 5.8 inches (105 by 148 mm). Only digital images will be accepted.
"Since the photographs are destined for the extreme environment of space, we need to use a particular type of paper and ink as most paper/inks wouldn't survive the journey," Garner explains. "So we must have them printed ourselves to ensure their survival."
Like the Space Diamonds, the photos will spend six to eight months mounted to the MISSE platform before being brought back to Earth. Both the photos and diamonds will come with documentation detailing their flight history and asserting their flown-in-space status.
All orders for Space Diamonds and photos must be received by the end of March.
The Space Collective is also launching a payload of small (6 by 4 inch) U.S. military service flags and large (12 by 8 inch) American flags in February for a similar six-month stay outside of the space station. Flags for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force are $350 each and are limited to 25 per branch. Only 10 of the U.S. flags are available, offered at $1,250 each.
Previous and ongoing payloads from The Space Collective included embroidered patches, custom name tags in a style similar to what astronauts wear on their flight suits and NASA logo labels which post-flight will be sewn to apparel. The memorabilia, including the upcoming Space Diamonds and photographs, is flown under NASA's policies for commercial activities on the International Space Station as established in 2019 and updated earlier this year.
|Space Diamonds, as offered by The Space Collective, will spend six months on the exterior of the International Space Station before being returned to Earth. (The Space Collective) The Space Collective's Space Diamonds and personal photos will be exposed to the vacuum of space on the MISSE science sample platform on the outside of the International Space Station. (NASA) The Space Collective is also offering U.S. military branch and U.S. flags flown to and from the space station. (The Space Collective)