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Scotty blasts off on final mission

Actor's widow beams him up

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James Doohan, the actor better known as Star Trek's Scotty, made it across the final frontier this Saturday when his ashes were launched into space aboard a 20 foot rocket.

Doohan's cremated remains have been waiting for this trip since the actor passed away from Alzheimer's and pneumonia two years ago. Various technical glitches, including a misfire during a test run, have delayed the launch, but this weekend things went smoothly.

His wife Wende, who pressed the launch button to send her late husband into orbit, described the launch as "fun". Keeping him company on his final flight were the remains of another 200 people, including astronaut Gordon Cooper, who first journeyed to space in 1963.

Speaking at the time of his death, Wende said it was Doohan's life ambition to go into space. She told reporters at the time: "He finally gets his wish, I can't think of a more fitting send-off than having some of his fans attend...his final journey."

Space Services, the company behind the trip, charges $495 to take "a symbolic" portion of a person's ashes into sub-orbital space. Once the flight reached its zenith, it separated into two portions which both returned to Earth on parachutes. The capsules are then mounted on plaques and returned to families as a memorial of the trip.

The company also offers services which see the remains boosted into higher orbits which gradually decay until the capsules are burned up in the atmosphere.

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's ashes were sent into space on Space Services' inaugural flight in 1997. ®

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