The DNA of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry will accompany the ashes of his wife and the actor who played chief engineer Scotty when the first Vulcan rocket lifts off in a mission dubbed the “Enterprise flight,” scheduled for later this year.
Celestis, a Houston-based space memorial services company, said this week that the ashes of Canadian actor James Doohan and actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who died in 2008, will accompany the DNA samples of her late husband. Gene Roddenberry’s ashes were scattered in space in 1997, six years after his death.
“We’re very pleased to be fulfilling, with this mission, a promise I made to Majel Barrett Roddenberry in 1997 that one day we would fly her and husband ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry together on a deep space memorial spaceflight,” said Charles M. Chafer, the CEO of Celestis.
They will be among more than 150 capsules that contain the cremated remains, DNA samples and messages of “Star Trek” fans who paid to be blasted into the final frontier after their deaths.
United Space Launch, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that services government contracts, has agreed to accommodate the remains as part of an unrelated mission.
“What a fitting tribute to the Roddenberry family and the ‘Star Trek’ fans to be a part of the maiden flight of Vulcan, our next-generation rocket,” said Tory Bruno, president and CEO of the company based in Centennial, Colorado.
The maiden flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, delayed several times during the development of its BE-4 engine, has the primary purpose of launching Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. The human remains of the Enterprise flight will come along as a “secondary payload.”
Officials said the rocket will rendezvous with the moon, continue into deep space and orbit around the sun with the remains. The launch date has not been scheduled.
The “Vulcan” rocket bears the same name as the planet and race of Mr. Spock, one of the television franchise’s most beloved characters.
Doohan was a World War II veteran who participated in the D-Day landing at Juno Beach, where he lost his right middle finger and took pains to conceal its absence throughout a decades-long acting career. A linguist who created the Vulcan and Klingon languages for the franchise, he died in 2005.
Majel Roddenberry, who acted under the name Barrett, appeared in every incarnation of “Star Trek” produced during her lifetime. She married Gene Roddenberry, a Texas native and a veteran television producer, in 1969 — the last year that the original “Star Trek” series aired.
The launch comes as private space flight has increasingly become a popular option for wealthy celebrities.
Last year, 90-year old “Star Trek” actor William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk in the show, traveled into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.