The remains of James Doohan have been sent into space (briefly):
UPHAM, N.M.â€“The cremated remains of actor James Doohan and U.S. Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper soared to suborbital space yesterday aboard a rocket.
It was the first successful launch from Spaceport America, a commercial spaceport being developed in the southern New Mexico desert.
The Canadian-born Doohan was most famous for portraying engineer Scotty on Star Trek. Cooper, one of the original Mercury astronauts, had been in space twice during his lifetime.
Doohan died in July 2005 at age 85. Cooper, who first went into space in 1963, died in 2004 at age 77. Doohan inspired the legendary catchphrase “Beam me up, Scotty” â€“ even though it was never actually uttered on the popular television show.
Suzan Cooper and Wende Doohan fired the rocket carrying small amounts of their husbands’ ashes and those of about 200 others at 8:56 a.m. local time from the launching grounds near Truth or Consequences, N.M.
During the 15-minute flight, the rocket separated into two parts and returned to Earth on parachutes â€“ coming down at the White Sands Missile Range â€“ with the capsules holding the remains. The maximum height reached was about 116 kilometres. Capsules containing the ashes are retrieved, mounted on plaques and given to relatives.
While nicely symbolic, I think a far more powerful memorial to Doohan was his final turn as Scotty in the TNG episode Relics. In a way, that episode really closed the book on the old Star Trek for me. And whose heart didn’t leap when Scotty walked onto the holodeck and recreated the Enterprise bridge, “no bloody A, B, C, or D!” ? It’s hard not to think that Scotty’s words to Picard on that recreated bridge of legend weren’t as much coming from Doohan himself.