Star Trek's Scotty plots last course for the stars

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PHOENIX: The remains of actor James Doohan, who played the starship Enterprise's chief engineer Scotty on Star Trek, will be blasted into space next month, the company organising the flight said.

The Canadian-born actor who inspired the catchphrase "Beam me up, Scotty" – even though it was never actually uttered on the television show – died two years ago at the age of 85.

Houston-based commercial company Space Services said some of Doohan's remains were packed into a rocket at Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Friday, ahead of the flight scheduled for April 28.

The company had originally planned to blast Doohan's remains into space two years ago. But the flight was delayed by tests, then by a misfire during a practice launch last year.

Space Services spokeswoman Susan Schonfeld said Doohan's ashes will be sent up along with the remains of some 200 other people, including astronaut Gordon Cooper, who first went into space in 1963. Cooper died in 2004 at age 77.

After a short flight the rocket will return to Earth with the capsules holding the remains.

Space Services is a commercial venture that charges $US495 to send a sample of a person's ashes into suborbital space. Capsules containing the ashes are retrieved, mounted on plaques and given back to relatives.

In 1997 the company blasted the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry into space.