Doohan's ashes to be shot into space Saturday
Cremated remains of ‘Scotty’ from ‘Star Trek’ will sail into suborbital space
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:16 p.m. ET April 27, 2007
EL PASO, Texas - If all goes as planned Saturday, the cremated remains of the actor who portrayed “Scotty” aboard Star Trek’s starship Enterprise will sail into suborbital space aboard a rocket launched from the southern New Mexico desert.
Actor James Doohan’s remains, along with those of Apollo 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper and about 200 others, are aboard the second private rocket scheduled to be launched at Spaceport America, a commercial spaceport being developed in Upham, N.M.
UP Aerospace Inc. of Farmington, Conn., launched the first rocket from the desert site in September. But that Spaceloft XL rocket crashed into the rugged desert after spiraling out of control about nine seconds after liftoff.
Company officials blamed the failure on a faulty fin design. A Spaceloft SL-2 rocket, with a fourth fin added for stability, will carry the cremains, which were loaded into the rocket last month.
Family members paid $495 to place a few grams of their relatives’ ashes on the rocket. Celestis, a Texas company, contracted with UP to send the cremated remains into space.
Charles Chafer, chief executive of Celestis, said last month that a CD with more than 11,000 condolences and fan notes was placed on the rocket with Doohan’s cremains.
Doohan died in July 2005, at age 85. The remains of Gene Roddenberry, who created “Star Trek,” were sent into space in 1997.
Scotty and Gordo get a space send-off
Ashes of ‘Star Trek’ engineer and NASA astronaut go into space and back
MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 7:03 p.m. ET April 28, 2007
UPHAM, N.M. - The cremated remains of actor James Doohan, who portrayed the engineer Scotty on "Star Trek," and of NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper soared briefly into space Saturday aboard a rocket.
It was the first successful launch from Spaceport America, a commercial spaceport being developed in the southern New Mexico desert. Suzan Cooper and Wende Doohan fired the rocket carrying small amounts of their husbands' ashes at 8:56 a.m. MT (10:56 a.m. ET).
"Go baby, go baby," said Eric Knight, chief executive officer of Connecticut-based UP Aerospace, the company that staged the launch.
Since it was a suborbital flight, the rocket soon plummeted back to Earth, coming down at the White Sands Missile Range.
"We nailed it. We stuck the landing," said Knight.
Knight told MSNBC.com that the rocket reached an altitude of 72 miles (115 kilometers), well beyond the internationally accepted 62-mile (100-kilometer) boundary of outer space.
UP Aerospace launched the first rocket from the desert site in September, but that Spaceloft XL rocket crashed into the desert after spiraling out of control about nine seconds after liftoff. Company officials blamed the failure on a faulty fin design.
Remains on ‘memorial spaceflight’
More than 200 family members paid $495 to place small samples of their relatives' ashes on the rocket. Celestis, a Houston company, contracted with UP to send the cremated remains into space.
Charles Chafer, chief executive of Celestis, said last month that a CD with more than 11,000 condolences and fan notes was placed on the rocket with Doohan's remains.
Doohan, whose portrayal of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott became a signature role on the 1960s TV series "Star Trek" as well as the movies that followed, died in July 2005 at age 85. The remains of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry were sent into space in 1997.
Cooper was the last astronaut to fly in the Mercury space program, orbiting Earth 22 times during his Mercury 9 flight in 1963. That made him the first American to sleep in space, and the last American to fly alone in space until SpaceShipOne's private-sector astronauts did it in 2004. Cooper was also the command pilot for Gemini 5 in 1965. He died in 2004 at the age of 77.
The samples of cremated remains from each "memorial spaceflight" client amounted to just a few grams each, or a fraction of an ounce, enclosed in a container roughly the size of a lipstick tube. Celestis says the tubes will be returned to the families on keepsake plaques. Additional samples are due to fly into orbit this autumn as a secondary payload aboard a SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket.
Ashes of "Star Trek"s Scotty found after space ride
Fri May 18, 5:44 PM ET
They beamed him up -- and on Friday, after a three-week search, they found the rocket that had carried ashes of "Star Trek" actor James Doohan briefly into space.
The remains of Doohan, whose "Star Trek" character Scotty inspired the television catch phrase "Beam me up, Scotty," were blasted off to the edge of space from New Mexico on April 29, two years after his death at the age of 85.
The payload also included ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper, who first went into space in 1963, and another 200 people.
But the UP Aerospace Spaceloft XL rocket carrying the capsules with the ashes back to Earth got lost in rugged terrain and the search for it was hampered by bad weather.
"Now we can all say 'mission accomplished,"' Rick Homans, executive director of New Mexico's Spaceport Authority, said on Friday.
Organizers said the rocket and the individual capsules containing the ashes were in good condition and would be mounted on plaques and returned to the families.
Canadian-born Doohan played the starship Enterprise's chief engineer Montgomery Scott in the original 1966-1969 "Star Trek" television series.
Houston-based Space Services Inc. Space Services Inc. charges $495 to send a portion of a person's ashes into suborbital space and return it to Earth.