Beam me up Scotty: Star Trek actor's ashes blasted into space

James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, from the film Star Trek Generations. Photo:

The ashes of the actor who played Scotty in Star Trek have been blasted into orbit on the first privately owned rocket to go to the International Space Station.

The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8.44am BST this morning, with a capsule containing the remains of James Doohan and 307 other people.

The capsule was released nine minutes into the SpaceX flight and will orbit the earth for a year before being pulled back into the atmosphere and disintegrated.

Falcon 9's main mission was to deliver a capsule called Dragon - which contains food and clothing - for astronauts in the International Space Station.

ITV News' Divya Kohli reports the "skies are no longer the limit".

SpaceX - which is owned by South African-born billionaire Elon Musk - already holds contracts worth a combined $3.5 billion to fly cargo to the station. The company is also among four firms vying to build space taxis to fly astronauts, tourists and non-NASA researchers.

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Falcon flew perfectly!! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back :)

Falcon 9 was due to take-off on Saturday but the launch was cancelled at the last-second so a faulty engine valve could be replaced.

Doohan was synonymous with the Star Trek series and was famous for his catchphrase, "Beam me up Scotty".

The Canadian actor died in 2005, aged 85, and had requested that his remains were taken to space. In 2007 his ashes reached suborbital space for several minutes, but were missing for three weeks until they were found in New Mexico.

A year later SpaceX attempted to send them into orbit but the rocket exploded and plunged into the Pacific Ocean.