Star Trek’s original Scotty, James Doohan, finally reached the stars for real this week as his ashes were carried into space aboard the Falcon 9. The rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral by SpaceX, an aerospace company that provides launch services to NASA as well as other government and private agencies, and carried the ashes of 308 individuals, including Doohan.
In addition to the ashes, the rocket carried a Dragon capsule as part of a demonstation flight to the International Space Station. One service that SpaceX provides to NASA is the delivery of supplies to the ISS. The company currently has a $300 million dollar agreement with the space agency and is looking at an ongoing contract worth $1.6 billion. This mission will see the Dragon fly within 1.5 miles of the ISS to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems, and to demonstrate the ability to abort a rendezvous.
For Doohan, the event is the culmination of a mission that began in 2008 when SpaceX attempted to send a portion of the actor’s ashes into space aboard the Falcon 1. That rocket failed to achieve orbit, but now Doohan can join Gene Roddenberry in the final frontier. And what better way could there be for the man who was Scotty to make that journey than on a mission to test and prove the engineering of a spacecraft that will help us take the next step towards the stars?
Doohan passed away in 2005 due to pneumonia at the age of 85.