Remains of Astronaut,Actor Launched by SpaceX

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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While the SpaceX rocket launched Tuesday takes supplies to the International Space Station, it also released samples of the remains of some 300 people, including an astronaut and a man who played a space traveler on television and in movies.

Astronaut Gordon Cooper, who died in 2004, and Star Trek actor James Doohan, who died in 2005, are among those who chose to have several grams of their ashes launched on a “memorial spaceflight” with the help of a private company called Celestis.

Celestis arranged for the remains to be a secondary cargo aboard a small satellite.

The rocket containing the remains fell away from the SpaceX Dragon ship minutes into the flight, as scheduled, and now will orbit Earth for about a year until it burns up in the atmosphere.

Doohan is not the first Star Trek team member to have his ashes launched into space – what the show called “the final frontier.” The ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry were launched into the heavens in 1997.

In the series about the crew of the futuristic starship Enterprise, Doohan played the ship's chief engineer “Scotty,” who spoke with a lilting Scottish brogue.