Scotty’s Ashes ‘Beamed Up’ by SpaceX Rocket
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
“Beam me up, Scotty.” *
Even if you’re too young to know where the catchphrase came from, you’ve at least overheard it during a jokester’s misplaced zing. As many of us know, it was the phrase known to be uttered by Star Trek‘s Captain Kirk as he commanded his chief engineer, Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, to transport him to the Starship Enterprise from some alien planet.
It seems fitting then, that there wasn’t just cargo, air, and entrepreneurial dreams aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket this past Tuesday. As it turns out, James Doohan – who played Scotty on Star Trek – went along for the ride with 307 others. Only, they weren’t alive.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket launched this Tuesday May 22, at 3:44 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral, and with it launched the well-publicized Dragon spacecraft — a private space capsule built for future manned travel to the ISS and beyond.
What wasn’t widely publicized at the time was the fact that a secondary, rather mysterious, payload was piggybacked on the Dragon. In it, James Doohan took a post-mortem flight along with Mercury program astronaut Gordon Cooper, and 306 others (308 total).
The fact that human remains were shuttled to space aboard the Falcon 9 was something that SpaceX’s Elon Musk wasn’t aware of, according to the Mother Nature Network. And with good reason — Musk was too concerned with getting the flight of his ‘unmanned’ commercial space craft off the ground.
According to the Mother Nature Network, the company that made Doohan’s trip possible, Celestis, charges around $3,000 to launch 1 gram of human ashes into Earth’s orbit. Deep space launches into the solar system will set customers back a little further, starting at $12,500. But for a relative steal one can always take a post-mortem suborbital jaunt for just under $1000.
So, beyond the fiery plumes of Dragon’s success lies another second attempt at a successful trip, as this is the second time Celestia has attempted to launch Doohan and Cooper’s ashes during a SpaceX flight. Having failed to reach space on a prior SpaceX mission, the pair were sent back again on Tuesday as a part of the company’s guarantee to send an additional ash sample should the first trip be unsuccessful.
Not a bad deal.
How about you — would you want to orbit Earth, or be interred in space when your time comes?
* (The exact phrase, “Beam me up, Scotty,” was never actually spoken during the series, and yet became entwined in the show’s legacy.)
by Theras Wood