At this rate poor James Doohan may never get his ashes blasted into deep space. Best known as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on Star Trek, Doohan passed away in 2005, and his family has been trying to find a way to launch his remains into orbit ever since.
Today was supposed to finally be the day. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to launch this morning, and was going to be the first commercial spacecraft to visit the International Space Station on a resupply run. Included in payload of this historical mission were some of Doohan’s remains. The departure, however, was cancelled. Here’s what SpaceX has to say about the delay:
Today, SpaceX aborted the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. Due to the instantaneous launch window, we are not able to recycle and re-attempt the launch today.
Early data indicates that the flight computer detected slightly high combustion chamber pressure on engine 5, which prompted the computer to abort the countdown. We are reviewing the data.
The termination of the mission is really too bad. Not only for Doohan’s family, who was looking for closure with this bit of “unfinished business.” But also because this is a set back for privatized space travel. Who among us hasn’t momentarily fantasized about strapping in, blasting off, and breaking free of the bonds of Earth’s atmosphere? It looks like we may be a little farther away from that dream than we were yesterday.
This would have been the second attempt to propel Doohan’s remains into space. In August of 2008 a rocket bearing his ashes failed to make it out of the atmosphere and crashed back to the ground. Here’s hoping that the third time’s the charm. SpaceX has another launch window on May 22nd.