James Doohan's son Erich wrote an essay about the failure of SpaceX to take is father's ashes into orbit last week. It's absolutely heartbreaking.
There have been many attempts to send my father on his way. On Saturday, the latest launch attempt by SpaceX, with a portion of my father's remains aboard, failed to achieve orbit. While there are many complicated reasons why this is a disappointment, mine is simple: I'd like to finish saying goodbye.
Every launch attempt is like reliving his funeral. There’s a lot of pomp and ceremony, and a retelling of his deeds in life. But at the end of these funerals, something goes awry, the body doesn't get buried, and you know you're going to have to come back to do it over again.
I knew Erich when we were kids, because he was good friends with my younger brother. He was around our house all the time, and I really liked him. I can't imagine the pain of having to say goodbye to your father over and over again, and in public, no less.
Space shuttle astronauts are allowed to take small amounts of personal items with them into space. Surely there is someone on an upcoming mission who can help give Jimmy a proper burial, right?