Star Trek icons will finally rest among the stars.
United Launch Alliance is getting ready to send their new Vulcan Centaur rockets into space sometime in 2022 or 2023. The rocket is being provided by Blue Origin, and the timeline is based on when the ULA can get their hands on Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine. Its trip up into space isn’t just another mission, either. It’s carrying some of Star Trek’s best with them.
It’s carrying the remains of Gene Roddenberry and his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Doohan, who played Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the original series of shows and films, as well as 147 fans of the franchise.
The launch is being done in conjunction with Celestis, a company that specializes in space memorialize launches, aka space burials. This mission isn’t just some fly-by-night idea, either, it’s the culmination of a promise that Celestis CEO Charles Chafer made in 1997. The CEO released a statement about the launch, saying;
"We’re very pleased to be fulfilling, with this mission, a promise I made to [actor] 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."
According to Space.com, the launch will also include another payload onboard, a new lunar lander.
"Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. The mission calls for the Centaur upper stage of the rocket to put Peregrine on course to rendezvous with the moon, and then to go on to deep space with the memorial payload."
So the rocket will drop off a new toy for the moon to play with before heading off into the cosmos.
This will technically be James Doohan’s third trip to space
Doohan’s ashes will go up as part of the trip but this won’t be the first time such a trip has happened involving the former engineer of the Enterprise. Doohan already has his ashes on the ISS. Then, not long after, his ashes went up again as part of a Space X Falcon 9 launch in 2012.
If that isn’t wild enough, this isn’t the first time that these companies have launched Trek stars into space. The rocket that the ULA is waiting on is from Blue Origin, the same company that launched William Shatner into space in 2021.