Source: Star Trek.com
The “Memorial Spaceflight” which will launch a portion of the remains of James Doohan into space — earlier scheduled for December 6th has been delayed until at least February 2006.
The countdown for the “Explorers Flight” — containing the ashes of more than 160 participants including Doohan’s — cannot commence until another vehicle is successfully launched in late November or early December. Then, the launch field at Vandenberg Air Force Base shuts down from mid-December through the end of January.
Thus, the likely timeframe for the Explorers Flight is February or March of 2006, according to Susan Schonfeld of Space Services, Inc. (SSI), the company providing the memorial flight service.
A public tribute and memorial service for Doohan is planned to take place the day before the Explorers Flight launch, in Lompoc, California, near the air force base. Those wishing to attend the service and/or launch viewing party in person should check this site and the SSI site regularly for updated information. There may be only a couple of weeks’ notice.
In the meantime, fans may participate in the memorial by sending tributes to Doohan that will go into space with him. As previously reported, SSI has created a forum for fans to write messages which will be recorded onto a CD and attached to the payload.
The deadline for submitting a tribute was November 15, but SSI will continue to accept messages through at least the first of January. If you haven’t submitted a tribute yet, visit this link: Tribute to James Doohan
The flight module containing the ashes of the Explorers Flight participants will piggyback on a commercial satellite launch, on a Falcon I rocket developed and operated by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX). It will be SpaceX’s second Falcon I launch. The maiden flight of the rocket has been delayed due to other activities at Vandenberg, so once it successfully lifts off this month or next, preparations for the next one can begin.
“We are closely in touch with SpaceX,” said Charles M. Chafer, CEO of SSI, “and will announce a firm date for the Explorers Flight as soon as we have it.”
Doohan, who played “Montgomery Scott” in the Original Series and seven Star Trek movies, died on July 20 at the age of 85.