Evidently “Star Trek” actor James “Scotty” Doohan took the catchphrase “beam me up” very seriously — his cremated remains are being launched into space in accord with his last wishes.
Space Services Inc., a commercial launch operator, is due to send the late actor’s remains into space aboard its Explorers Flight as early as Dec. 6, a company spokeswoman said Friday.
She said the remains of more than 120 others will be aboard the flight, including those of an unidentified astronaut and Mareta West, the astrogeologist who determined the site for the first spacecraft landing on the moon.
Space Services spokeswoman Susan Schonfeld declined to identify the astronaut whose cremated remains will be launched into space. She said the name would be announced the day of the launch.
Sci-fi show inspires tribute
Doohan, who portrayed feisty chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the “Star Trek” television series, died in July at age 85. On the program, when Capt. James Kirk ventured off the spaceship Enterprise and faced peril, he would ask Scotty to “beam” his body up to the safety of the ship.
The actual phrase “Beam me up, Scotty,” was not used on the show, but it entered pop culture.
To mark the flight into his final frontier, Doohan’s family will hold a service for fans on a 60-acre site near Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on the day of the launch to pay tribute to him. Some fans are expected to attend in the formal white suit of a Star Fleet commander.
“I can’t think of a more fitting send-off than having some of his fans attend this, his final journey,” his widow, Wende Doohan, said in an open invitation to the service.
The Space Services payload is to be carried aboard a SpaceX Falcon I rocket, along with the primary payload, a TacSat communications satellite for the U.S. military.
In an e-mail, SpaceX spokeswoman Dianne Molina told MSNBC.com that Dec. 6 was the most recent date that was requested from Vandenberg for the TacSat launch. "Unfortunately, it is not a hard date, as we are not on the schedule there yet," Molina said.
Doohan would not be the first “Star Trek” figure to have his remains launched into space. A similar final flight was arranged for the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry, after his death in 1991. The capsule containing Roddenberry's remains returned to Earth in 2002, Schonfeld said.
Doohan’s cremated remains will be packed into a special tube that is ejected from the rocket. The tube is expected to orbit Earth for about 50 to 200 years before plunging into the planet’s atmosphere and burning up.
Fans can post tributes to Doohan via the Space Services Web site. Those messages will be digitized, packed with “Scotty” and blasted into space.
This report includes information from Reuters and MSNBC.com.