Updated 05/31/2012 06:00 PM
Out of this world final wish granted
Charles Gay wasn't the type of guy who shied away from life. So when the Herkimer man learned a diagnosis of cancer meant he had just months to live, he began planning the ultimate adventure. Now, two years after his death, his family has finally seen his dream become a reality. Sarah Blazonis reports.
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MOHAWK, N.Y. -- Charles Gay's journey into space began with "Star Trek."
"Gene Roddenberry, the 'Star Trek' creator, there was some story on TV that he was going to have that done with his ashes," explained Gay's son, Craig Gay.
So when Charles learned he was dying of colon cancer, he started researching how he could get a spot on one of those trips. Craig says the move fit his personality to a 'T.'
"He was an adventurous guy," said Craig Gay. "I mean, he'd ridden on hot air balloons, sky dived, bungee jumped."
Charles Gay died in August of 2010, but it wasn't until last week that his plan finally took off.
Part of his remains was onboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, the one that carried the first commercial craft to dock with the International Space Station into space. Celestis, a Houston-based company, has been arranging such flights since the late '90s.
Charles Gay's family watched the launch online and can also track his flight on the Celestis web site. The company says the craft detached from Falcon 9 and will orbit the Earth for one year.
The remains of 320 people from around the world are also on the flight, including Mercury Seven astronaut L. Gordon Cooper and James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty on "Star Trek."
"He would've gotten a wicked kick out of that," said Craig Gay of the full-circle connection.
Craig says after nearly two years of waiting, last week's launch brought an added sense of closure.
"I wanted to see it happen in my lifetime and it got to a point where you weren't sure. So it was a nice feeling to see that it finally got done."
And to know his dad got to go on one last excellent adventure.