Monday, December 04, 2023
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Web Desk

'Star Trek', space icons' remains to ride Vulcan rocket to 'The Final Frontier' — Here's when

'Star Trek' stars Nichelle Nichols (Lt Uhura), Jackson Kelley (Dr Leonard "Bones" ), and others' remains will be on Vulcan Centaur rockets

By
Web Desk
Capsules, containing remains of individuals who have died, are prepared to be launched on board the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan VC2S rocket this month.—Celestis Inc
Capsules, containing remains of individuals who have died, are prepared to be launched on board the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan VC2S rocket this month.—Celestis Inc

The inaugural flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December 24, will carry a poignant cargo – the remains and DNA samples of 338 individuals, including esteemed members of the original "Star Trek" TV series.

This celestial journey marks a significant milestone for Celestis Inc., a Texas-based company specialising in memorial space flights, whose co-founder and CEO, Charles Chafer, describes the capsules carrying these remains as ranging "from a lipstick container to about half a watch battery."

A capsule containing remains of an individual who died is prepared to be launched on board the United Launch Alliance Vulcan VC2S rocket.—Celestis Inc
A capsule containing remains of an individual who died is prepared to be launched on board the United Launch Alliance Vulcan VC2S rocket.—Celestis Inc 

Among the departed luminaries joining this cosmic voyage are Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Jackson DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy), and James Doohan (Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott) from the iconic "Star Trek" series. The costs for such ethereal journeys can reach up to $12,995, providing options for lunar landings or deep space launches.

This dual-memorial mission named Tranquility and Enterprise, a nod to space exploration history, represents a unique endeavour. Initially launching a lunar lander for moon studies, the rocket will carry 70 capsules to the moon's surface, serving as a celestial memorial site visible from Earth. Subsequently, the spacecraft will embark on a journey approximately 100 million miles into orbit around the sun.

For Michael Clive, son of a space enthusiast whose remains are part of this mission, this launch fulfils a long-awaited promise. Inspired by his father's passion for space and science fiction, Michael transitioned from a career in movie special effects to aerospace, working with companies like SpaceX. 

Reflecting on his father's influence, Michael contemplates the prospect of his daughters, Lyra and Maia, perhaps visiting the moon and encountering their grandfather's celestial resting place.

As Celestis marks its 19th and 20th flights with Tranquility and Enterprise, the increasing pace of space missions underscores a growing interest in memorialising loved ones in the cosmic expanse.