DNA of DeForest Kelley, Dr. 'Bones' McCoy from 'Star Trek,' will fly to space with original cast on memorial spaceflight

DeForest Kelley
DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on "Star Trek." (Image credit: Paramount)

Last month we delivered news of an upcoming memorial space flight from the space burial firm Celestis that was going to be carrying the cremated remains and DNA of "Star Trek's" Nichelle Nichols, who died on July 30 at the ripe age of 89.

Now there's been word of another beloved "Star Trek" alumni hitching a ride aboard Celestis' remembrance Enterprise Flight along with other well-known deceased "Trek" luminaries as the reunion will now include the late DeForest Kelley's DNA. 

The Texas-based company provides respectful "memorial spaceflight services" for persons who hope to celebrate and honor the life of loved ones with an extraordinary off-Earth experience. 

On August 25 it was revealed that Nichelle Nichols was selected to fly on the first-ever Celestis deep space mission. Official announcements of Kelley’s addition were made on Thursday in honor of Star Trek Day.

The space burial company Celestis will launch a Star Trek mission carrying 150 capsules with cremated human remains and DNA on the first flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket by the United Launch Alliance. (Image credit: Celestis)

“I donated the lock of hair so 'De' could join his shipmates on their eternal journey into interstellar space," said Kris M. Smith, Kelley's friend who submitted the DNA sample via a lock of his hair. "The mission just didn't feel complete without Dr. McCoy aboard. I think 'De' 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,” De! Loving you was easier than anything we will ever do again!"

Launching later this year inside United Launch Alliance's appropriately named Vulcan Centaur rocket, Kelley's DNA will be accompanied by remains of Nichelle Nichols, "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, "Star Trek" engineer James "Scotty" Doohan, and "2001: A Space Odyssey" VFX wizard Douglas Trumbull, among many others.

Kelley passed away on June 11, 1999 and made his debut on "Star Trek" in 1966 where he played  the irascible Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on NBC's hit sci-fi series for three seasons and co-starred in six "Star Trek" feature films. Beyond his physician's duties aboard the USS Enterprise, Kelley was a distinguished Hollywood veteran of dozens of TV shows and films, especially westerns.

DeForest Kelley in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

"It's particularly notable that we announce DeForest Kelley's addition to our Enterprise Flight on Star Trek Day," said Charles M. Chafer Co-founder & CEO of Celestis, Inc. "No mission to deep space would be complete without a ship’s doctor."

Looking at the trajectory of this Enterprise Flight, the spacecraft will journey from 93 million miles to 186 million miles (150 million to 300 million kilometers) into deep space outside the Earth-moon system. The memorial mission will haul more than 150 flight capsules containing cremated ash remains, personal messages and greetings, and DNA samples from global clients on a timeless odyssey into space. 

Besides shuttling this precious cargo out beyond Earth orbit, the primary purpose of the Vulcan flight will be directing the Pittsburgh aerospace company Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander in the direction of the moon. The Vulcan Centaur's upper stage will continue into deep space, entering an orbit around the sun, becoming humanity's most remote outpost, to be renamed Enterprise Station.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.