Star Trek’s DeForest Kelley was one of the first members of the original series to pass away. The actor behind the series’ iconic Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, Kelley passed in 1999 after a battle with stomach cancer.
Now, over two decades after his death, the actor will boldly go into space. Joining other Star Trek actors, included the recently deceased Nichelle Nichols, Kelley will experience the Final Frontier after all.
DeForest Kelley goes to space
Announced on Star Trek Day last week, remains of DeForest Kelley will be included on United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket launch. As the actor was cremated and scattered in the Pacific Ocean, the launch will send a lock of the actor’s hair kept by friend Kris M. Smith.
Kelley will join a number of other Trek actors on the journey. The recently passed Uhura actress Nichelle Nichols, Scotty actor James Doohan and Lwaxana Troi actress Majel Barrett-Roddenberry are all on the flight.
“I donated the lock of hair so 'Dee' could join his shipmates on their eternal journey into interstellar space," Smith said, via SPACE. "The mission just didn't feel complete without Dr. McCoy aboard. I think 'Dee' would have loved to 'go hopping galaxies' again with his cast and crew mates. So, "second star to the right and straight on 'til morning,” Dee! Loving you was easier than anything we will ever do again!"
Not all of the deceased original Star Trek cast members will be on the Vulcan flight. For example, Spock actor Leonard Nimoy — who was buried in 2015 — has no presence on the journey.
No journey is complete
In a statement, Co-founder & CEO of Celestis, Charles M. Chafer explained that the mission was incomplete without DeForest Kelley. While the Enterprise Mission did feature notable Star Trek cast members, it wouldn’t be the same without him.
“It's particularly notable that we announce DeForest Kelley's addition to our Enterprise Flight on Star Trek Day," Chafer said. "No mission to deep space would be complete without a ship’s doctor."
The mission will see the Vulcan rocket fly 93 million miles to 186 million miles outside the Earth system. Over 150 capsules, featuring remains, letters and more, will be flung into deep space.
Furthermore, the Vulcan mission has two other purposes. The first is to launch a lunar lander onto The Moon; the second is to leave the rocket’s upper stage in orbit around The Sun to establish Enterprise Station, humanity’s deepest outpost yet.