PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In two days, an Astoria man will fulfill his lifelong dream – although it’s happening after his life has ended. 

Jeffrey Nelson always loved science fiction and was especially fond of the television series “Star Trek.” 

“If you look up the word ‘Trekkie,’ it probably showed his picture,” joked his longtime friend Dan Boettcher. 

So, after he passed away at age 64 on Sept. 6, 2021, his friends came up with a way to memorialize him that was out of this world. They decided to send part of his cremated remains to space. 

Before he died, Nelson had heard that former “Star Trek” actor James Doohan, who played Montgomery Scott – “Scotty” on the show – had some of his cremated ashes smuggled aboard the International Space Station. 

When Nelson passed, his friends remembered how cool he thought it was that part of Doohan is floating out in space. They decided to do something similar for their friend. 

A Celestis Memorial Spaceflight rocket launches capsules containing people’s cremated remains or DNA into space. Courtesy Celestis Inc.

While they couldn’t figure out a way to smuggle him onto the International Space Station, they did come across Celestis Memorial Spaceflights. The company has performed memorial spaceflights since 1997 and on Wednesday, Nov. 30, it will launch another rocket with Nelson’s ashes on board. 

Celestis calls the upcoming event the Aurora Flight launch. It will take place at New Mexico’s Spaceport America and will launch a SpaceLoft XL rocket carrying the cremation memorials. 

Nelson and the other people’s remains on board will reach an altitude where they briefly experience the weightlessness of space before they return safely to Earth, Celestis said. The flown capsules with cremated remains or DNA samples sealed inside will be returned to family members or other loved ones in a permanent keepsake. 

An employee of Celestis Memorial Spaceflights holds a capsule containing a person’s cremated remains or DNA. These capsules are sent to space on Celestis rockets. Photo courtesy Celestis Inc.

“I hope wherever he is, he’s happy that he finally made it [to space]. He’s going to be happy that he’ll be up there and he’s probably surprised that he beat Shatner there,” Boettcher said. 

During his life, Nelson had the opportunity to meet “Star Trek” actor William Shatner and other actors from the show. He also learned to perfect his impersonations of the character’s voices. In 2011, Nelson was the grand prize winner in a “Talk Like William Shatner Day” video contest

It’s been more than a year since Nelson died, but Boettcher said he still thinks of the friend he had for nearly 30 years. 

Nelson was preceded in death by his parents and had no siblings or children, but he was well-known in the Astoria community after years of working at a local radio station. Boettcher said friends have been sharing information about the rocket launch onto Nelson’s Facebook page to let his loved ones know when it’s taking place and how they can stream it. 

Celestis said anyone can watch the rocket launch Wednesday on its Facebook page. It’s scheduled to take flight sometime between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Pacific Time.