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” later this year.
Celestis, a Houston-based space memorial company, said this week that the ashes of Canadian actor James Doohan and actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who died in 2008, will accompany her late husband’s DNA samples. Gene Roddenberry’s ashes were scattered in space in 1997, six years after his death.
“We’re thrilled that this mission will allow us to fulfill a promise I made to Majel Barrett Roddenberry in 1997 that we would someday fly into deep space with her and husband ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry- memorial space flight,” said Charles M. Chafer, the CEO of Celestis.
They will be among more than 150 capsules containing the cremated remains, DNA samples and messages from “Star Trek” fans who paid to be blasted to the final frontier after their deaths.
United Space Launch, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing that maintains government contracts, has agreed to accommodate the remains as part of an unrelated mission.
“What a fitting tribute to the Roddenberry family and ‘Star Trek’ fans to be a part of the maiden flight of Vulcan, our next-generation rocket,” said Tory Bruno, company president and CEO in Centennial , Colorado.
The maiden flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, which was 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 from 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 the sun with its remnants. The launch date is not scheduled.
The “Vulcan” rocket bears the same name as Mr. Spock, one of the most beloved characters in the television franchise.
Doohan was a World War II veteran who took part in the D-Day landing at Juno Beach, where he lost his right middle finger and struggled to hide its absence over a decades-long acting career. A linguist who created the Vulcan and Klingon languages for the franchise died in 2005.
Majel Roddenberry, who performed under the name Barrett, appeared in every incarnation of “Star Trek” produced during her lifetime. She married Gene Roddenberry, a Texas native and veteran television producer, in 1969, the last year the original “Star Trek” series aired.
Later in her career, she produced the science fiction television shows “Andromeda” and “Earth: Final Conflict”, based on notes from her late husband.
The launch comes as private space flights have increasingly become a popular option for wealthy celebrities.
Last year, 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk on the show, traveled into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.