Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fans Can Beam Up Words With Scotty's Ashes

I found this on the news this morning. I thought it was perty cool beans :)

John McKay
Canadian Press
Monday, November 14, 2005

TORONTO -- Scotty's ashes are heading for orbit.

And his legions of fans can go along for the ride. Or at least their best wishes can. Following the precedent of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, some of the remains of Canadian-born actor James Doohan will be launched into space some time in February or March.

It was one of the last requests of Doohan who died at 85 last July and who memorably played chief engineer Scotty of the starship Enterprise on the original Star Trek sci-fi series and subsequent big-screen adventures.

"You know, it's the final frontier," says Susan Schonfeld, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based Space Services, Inc., which has been arranging memorial space flights for several years now. "I think space is just so loved by people. It's a thing that's inbred in human beings when they look up at the night sky and they see the stars."

In a phone interview from New York, Schonfeld said that the Space Endeavor Center at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base has given them a launch window for their sixth memorial spaceflight some time during February or March. Details will be posted online (www.spaceservicesinc.com) where fans of Scotty can also post a few words of tribute that will be digitized and sent up as part of the Falcon 1 rocket's payload at no extra charge.
Some fans have already done so (see also www.scottylaunch.com). "Thanks for exploring the final frontier and inspiring many others," wrote Philippe Drouin of Montreal.
"You were an incredibly talented man," wrote Kevin Gordon of Denver, Colo. "I wish we could see you in action one more time."

The actor's widow, Wende Doohan, has issued a formal invitation to fans to attend the launch and the memorial service that will take place the day before. If not, they can send their tribute message. "I can't think of a more fitting sendoff than having some of his fans attend this, his final journey," she writes on the website. "For those who wish to attend the launch, you are more than welcome. And for those who can't, just look to the heavens on launch date and know that you are sharing a worldwide memorial for James (Scotty) Doohan."

Also included in the Explorer launch capsule will be some remains of early Star Trek writer John Meredith Lucas, country music singer-writer Randy Vanwarmer - who wrote for the likes of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton - and some 170 others including rocket scientists, plus someone well-known whose identity won't be released until launch day at the family's request.
Here's how the memorial works.
It costs anywhere from $995 US to $5,300 to send some cremated remains up on the rocket packed in a tube integrated into the flight hardware - basically a thousand dollars per gram (the payload available to Space Services is limited).

The aluminum capsule will be launched into orbit where it will remain for dozens, perhaps hundreds of years, before re-entering Earth's atmosphere as a shooting star. The ashes are not scattered in space.

"Everything that goes up must eventually come down," explains Schonfeld. "Whether it's 10 years, 30 years, 50 years, that all depends on where it's released in space."........ Their maiden launch in 1997 carried remains of Roddenberry and writer and LSD-promoter Timothy Leary.
Schonfeld says such alternative funerals - it's been called thinking outside the box - are growing in popularity. "There are funeral homes throughout the world that now carry the space memorial flight service," she says. "It's a very popular thing these days for people to plan ahead for their final journey. "These type of services have become more mainstream."

The Vancouver-born Doohan died July 20 at his Redmond, Wash., home with Wende, his wife of 31 years, at his side. He had retired from public events last year after announcing he had Alzheimer's disease.

© The Canadian Press 2005

No comments: