Great Bird of the Galaxy, The – Term of endearment for Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the sci-fi adventure STAR TREK/NBC/1966-69 and all of its successful spin-offs.
The term first appeared on episode No.6 “The Man Trap” when an appreciative ship’s navigator Sulu (George Takai) said, “May the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless your planet” to yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) after she brought him food to eat.
Note: On April 21, 1997, Gene Roddenberry went where “no man has gone before” when a commercial rocketship transported a small capsule containing his cremated remains into orbit around the planet Earth.
Also on board the rocket,chartered by the Houston-based firm Celestis, Inc., were the ashes of 1960s drug guru Timothy Leary, rocket scientist Krafft Ehricke, Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, and 20 other dead folks.
Hailed as history’s first celestial funeral, the rocket was designed to orbit some 300 miles above the Earth (passing overhead every 90 minutes) and then after about two years fall back into the atmosphere burning up in a brilliant flash of white light.
Before his final voyage, the ashes of Gene Roddenberry were reported to have been quietly taken aboard a space-shuttle flight as a tribute to his vision of the future.
In 2006, actor James Doohan – who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott on the original STAR TREK TV series – followed his former boss Gene Roddenberry into space when a Falcon 1 rocket payload carried his remains (ashes) into space. Doohan died at his Redmond, Washington home in July, 2005. He was 85.
Along with Scotty’s ashes (launched from California’s. Vanderberg Air Force Base in the late winter) there will be digitalized notes of appreciation from his fans place on board to give Scotty reading material for that long eternal flight into the unknown. The website spaceservicesinc.com provided fans a platform to post their tributes to the late actor before the launch.
Also along for the ride into space were the remains of early STAR TREK writer John Meredith Lucas, and country singer-writer Randy Vanwarmer, who wrote for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton,