PHOENIX (Reuters) - Beaming him up was the easy part: the problem was transporting him back to Earth.
A search team continues to look for a rocket carrying ashes of the actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on “Star Trek,” almost two weeks after it hurtled to the edge of space from New Mexico, the company behind the launch said on Thursday.
Remains of the Canadian-born actor, who died two years ago at the age of 85, blasted off from a remote launch site on April 29 carrying a payload that included the ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper and several experiments.
A spokeswoman for Houston-based Space Services Inc., which organized the “memorial spaceflight,” said the telephone-pole sized rocket descended by parachute into a rugged area that a search team has repeatedly failed to reach.
“The terrain is very mountainous; it’s not somewhere that you can walk or drive to. My understanding is that it will take some time to get up into there,” Susan Schonfeld told Reuters by telephone.
“They know the general location, and we have the utmost confidence that they will recover it.”
Schonfeld said the search had been hampered by “horrendous” weather in the desert state, but expected the Up Aerospace Spaceloft XL craft to be recovered in coming days.
Doohan played the starship Enterprise’s chief engineer Montgomery Scott in the original 1966-1969 Star Trek television series.
He inspired the legendary catch phrase “Beam me up, Scotty” — even though it was never actually uttered on the show.
Hundreds of spectators clapped and cheered as his ashes roared aloft along with those of some 200 other people, including astronaut Gordon Cooper, who first went into space in 1963. Cooper died in 2004 at age 77.
Space Services Inc. charges $495 to send a portion of a person’s ashes into suborbital space.
In 1997, the company blasted the remains of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry into space.