In January of this year, relatives of Sverre Aas (1937-2021) travelled all the way from Norway to Sheffield to commemorate his life with an Aura Flights launch. Norwegian press even documented the ceremony, with a tasteful write-up featuring in the third largest newspaper in Norway, Dagens Næringsliv.
Sverre Aas was a well travelled man in his time. Having worked his entire adult life for Nammo (Nordic Ammunition Company), he was no stranger to gracing the skies. In an article written about his life and the Aura Flights launch for D2, a Norwegian lifestyle magazine and nationwide newspaper insert, the journalist details how Sverre “told stories from a long life in a big world. Maybe about the time he sang Alf Prøysen songs in the White House, at the wedding of a famous congressman. Or about the time he bought diving equipment somewhere in Asia, and took live lobster home on the plane.”
According to his loved ones, Sverre was a “joy spreader…One who used to catch the attention of everyone in a room. He was a very lively type. He was a bit enchanted when he spoke.”
In want of a memorial with a touch of enchantment, the family of Sverre reached out to the Norwegian agent for Aura Flights, Pia Hebæk Cyrén. Sverre’s wife, Kari, told the magazine that she and her husband had no “relationship with the church” and that the family and Sverre wanted something different. As soon as she came across The Last Journey, run by Cyrén—the outside-the-box funeral services company based in Norway offering Aura Flights services—Kari was instantly intrigued. Soon after, the launch was booked, with the approval of the whole family - “everyone thought it sounded like a good idea to send Sverre up to space”, said Kari.
The day before the launch, the magazine met up with Sverre’s grandson, Oscar, a student studying economics at Lancashire University. They met at a pub in his university town, where he shared sentimental stories about his relative, telling D2: “We had a couple of beers together in the SAS lounge before departure.” “You and the urn?” they asked. To which Oscar replied, “Me and grandfather.”
On the day of the launch, several relatives travelled to the launch site to be guided by technicians as well as Samantha Richardson, head of Aura Flights. Before the ashes were about to be scattered, Samantha asked the family if they had any songs in mind to honour the special moment. Kari proposed Dean Martin’s ‘Green Green Grass of Home’, which soon after played out across the rolling green fields. And just like that, Sverre was off to sail amongst the stars. 100,000 feet above the Earth. Sverre’s family was presented with a film containing photos and videos to commemorate their loved one, in the end opting to keep the footage of the launch’s live stream to indelibly mark Sverre’s journey into the final frontier. A beautiful ceremony for a remarkable man.