"Star Trek" creator and wife's ashes space-bound

Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:47pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and late wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry are about to go on their final mission.

The Roddenberrys' ashes will be shot into space in about a year and a half, in accordance with their wishes, memorial spaceflight company Celestis Inc said on Monday.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, an actress who had roles in nearly every "Star Trek" television show and movie since the original, died on December 18 at age 76. She had been married to Gene Roddenberry for 22 years when he died in 1991, and she was often called "The First Lady of Star Trek."

Celestis sent a portion of Gene Roddenberry's cremated remains into space on a rocket flight in 1997, along with the remains of other individuals, including psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary.

That flight was sent into orbit around the Earth and eventually disintegrated upon reentering the atmosphere. But Celestis will launch both Roddenberrys' remains into deep space and the spacecraft will not fall back into Earth's orbit, said Susan Schonfeld, a spokeswoman for the company.

The spacecraft will be loaded onto a commercial rocket and sent on a deep space trajectory once it breaches Earth's atmosphere, she said.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry said before her death that she wanted her remains launched into space with those of her late husband, Schonfeld said.

The launch will not happen for a year and a half because Celestis needs time to prepare. In the meantime, fans can send a tribute message for the Roddenberrys at Celestis.com, and those messages will be put into a digital file and sent into space along with the Roddenberrys' remains.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Majel Barrett Roddenberry wife of Gene Roddenderry gives the vulcan sign to the crowd at the end of the show as part of the "Beam Me Up Scotty...One More Time, The James Doohan Farewell Star Trek convention &amp; Tribute" at the convention in Hollywood August 29, 2004. REUTERS/Gene Blevins</p>