AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
One final note on the SpaceX launch: It's carrying some precious cargo. In addition to much-needed supplies for the space station, it also has the ashes of 308 people, including...
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "STAR TREK")
JAMES DOOHAN: (as Scotty) Our shields will hold for a few passes, but without the matter/anti-matter reactor, we've no chance.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
That's actor James Doohan, who played chief engineer Scotty on the original "Star Trek" TV series. He's in good company. Along with him, the ashes of real-life Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper.
CORNISH: Also aboard are the remains of Brady Kane, who died last year in a skydiving accident in Colorado.
SIEGEL: And Francis McShane of New York, who died of heart attack. His friends pooled their money to get his ashes aboard.
CORNISH: The ashes are kept in a canister that separates from the main capsule. If everything works out, it will orbit the Earth, then vaporize as it reenters the atmosphere.
SIEGEL: SpaceX teamed up with an outfit called Celestis to provide this service. The individual price tag for its so-called Earth orbit memorial service: $3,000.
(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Now Celestis, Incorporated makes it possible to honor the dream and memory of your departed loved one with a final journey into celestial infinity. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.