The semi-Infinite Trek for Scotty

Contributed by
Apr 4, 2007

James Doohan, who played Engineer Montgomery Scott on Star Trek, died in July 2005. As a fitting memorial, his ashes will be launched into space, possibly on April 28. The SpaceLoft XL rocket is supplied by UP Aerospace, and the company that set this up is Celestis, which acts as a middleman providing a variety of space services.

I'm of mixed opinions about this. I suppose it's a nice thought, and if it brings spaceflight that much closer to people, then I'm for it.

However, there is something amiss here. Celestis (on its front page) claims the ashes will go into orbit:

Space Services makes it possible to honor the dream and memory of your departed loved one by launching a symbolic portion of cremated remains into Earth orbit, onto the lunar surface or into deep space.

But UP Aerospace (also on its front page) says its flights are suborbital:

Space-flight profiles up to 140 miles / 225 km with a wide range of micro-gravity options.

It looks to me like the ashes will go up, be up for a few minutes, then come back down. Besides the issue of (mild) misleading advertising, this may be something of a more serious legal matter, as human remains have some baggage associated with them. The launch will be in New Mexico, so I wonder what legal ramifications there are? I have called Celestis and left a message. If/when I hear back I'll post again. has more as well.

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