Gene Roddenberry - On April 21,
1997, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the classic sci-fi series
STAR TREK/NBC/1966-69 and all of its successful spin-offs, went
where "no man has gone before" when a commercial rocketship
transported a small capsule containing his cremated remains into
orbit around the planet Earth.
Also onboard the rocket, chartered
by the Houston-based firm Celestis, Inc., were the ashes of 1960s
drug guru Timothy Leary, rocket scientist Krafft Ehricke,
Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill, and 20 other dead folks.
Hailed as history's first celestial funeral, the rocket was
designed to orbit some 300 miles above the Earth (passing
overhead every 90 minutes) and then after about two years fall
back into the atmosphere burning up in a brilliant flash of
Before his final voyage, the ashes of Gene
Roddenberry were reported to have been quietly taken aboard a
space-shuttle flight as a tribute to his vision of the future.
In 2006, actor James Doohan - who played chief engineer
Montgomery Scott on the original STAR TREK TV series - followed
his former boss Gene Roddenberry into space when a Falcon 1
rocket payload carried his remains (ashes) into space. Doohan
died at his Redmond, Washington home in July, 2005. He was 85.
Along with Scotty's ashes (launched from California's.
Vanderberg Air Force Base in the late winter) there will be
digitalized notes of appreciation from his fans place onboard to
give Scotty reading material for that long eternal flight into
the unknown. The website http://www.spaceservicesinc.com
provided fans a platform to post their tributes to the late
actor before the launch.
Also along for the ride into space were the remains of early
STAR TREK writer John Meredith Lucas, and country singer-writer
Randy Vanwarmer, who wrote for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton,
TRIVIA NOTE: Before his death, fans and friends of Gene
Roddenberry had affectionately nicknamed him "The Great Bird of
The Galaxy." The term first appeared on episode No.6 "The Man
Trap" when an appreciative ship's navigator Sulu (George Takai)
said "May the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless your planet" to
yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) after she brought him
food to eat.
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