Babies-In-Space Startup Halts Operations

Tensions abound within Dutch startup SpaceLife Origin

Starchild from "2001"
The Starchild from "2001: A Space Odyssey" remains entirely science fictional
Warner Bros.
By Tobias Carroll / July 5, 2019 11:01 am

If your lifelong ambition has been to conceive a child or deliver a baby while orbiting the planet, you might need to wait a little while longer. SpaceLife Origin, a Dutch startup with an ambitious plan involving both of these things, has suspended its operations, according to a report from Business Insider.

SpaceLife Origin initially attracted attention last October with an ambitious plan involving several missions to explore conception and childbirth in space.

Things have changed dramatically since then, however. CEO and founder Kees Mulder announced the suspension of operations via a post on the company’s website. “Serious ethical, safety and medical concerns related to Missions Lotus & Cradle are preventing me personally any longer from accepting any associations with and responsibilities for those two specific Missions,” he wrote. 

Some context: the plan for Mission Lotus involved fertilizing reproductive cells in space, while Mission Cradle’s plan involved childbirth in space. Both are now on hold indefinitely. 

In the same statement, Mulder also announced “a serious and unrepairable breach of trust” with the company’s Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer, Dr. Egbert Edelbroek.

It remains unclear why someone would want to take the already-complex process of childbirth and introduce another variable, especially one as arduous as space travel, into the mix. This whole thing seems pitched somewhere between a superhero’s origin story and the Mr. Show sketch where NASA decides to blow up the moon simply because they can

While Mulder’s statement is notable for its terseness, it certainly suggests that there’s more to be told here — perhaps in the coming years, we’ll get the insider documentary or tell-all memoir we didn’t know we were all waiting for.

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