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'Scotty's' 'beamed up' ashes fall in New Mexico

Story Highlights

• "Star Trek" actor James Doohan's ashes launched April 28
• Rocket official: Payload "landed where we wanted it"
• Ashes, in cylinders, found in rugged area of missile base
• Cylinders to be mounted on plaques and given to families
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WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico (AP) -- A rocket payload that flew briefly into space with ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper and "Star Trek" actor James Doohan was recovered Friday in the New Mexico mountains.

The payload was found in its designated recovery zone 20 days after Farmington, Connecticut-based UP Aerospace sent it up in a 20-foot rocket on April 28.

The rocket, the first to be successfully launched into space from the fledgling Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, made a 4-minute suborbital flight before drifting back to Earth. (Read more about the launch of Doohan's ashes into space)

On board were partial ashes from Cooper, Doohan -- who played Scotty on "Star Trek" -- and 200 others, including John Meredith Lucas, a writer for the original "Star Trek" series.

The payload landed in rocky, steep terrain in the San Andres Mountains on White Sands Missile Range, east of the spaceport, and was found by a UP Aerospace crew with help from White Sands.

UP Aerospace co-founder Eric Knight said the payload "landed where we wanted it to be. It was just in difficult terrain."

"And some days, the weather was not cooperative," he said.

Wende Doohan, James Doohan's widow, said he "was in great company with Gordon and Meredith Lucas."

"He probably wished he could have stayed" in space, Doohan said in a telephone interview from her home in Renton, Washington.

"When Senator John Glenn went up in space (aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1998), he said, 'They're starting to use seniors now,' and he wanted to put his name on the list," Doohan said.

The remains of the 202 people were in sealed metal capsules designed to withstand the rigors of space flight.

The cylinders will be mounted on plaques mentioning the space flight and given to the families who provided the ashes.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Remains of the late "Star Trek" actor James Doohan and others launched into space two weeks ago have been recovered.

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