Shawnee native Gordon Cooper set to take last space flight

Friday, December 2nd 2005, 2:29 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma native and original Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper will become the first astronaut to be buried in space.

Cooper was born in Shawnee and died in October 2004. Now his widow, Suzan, will send some of his cremated remains into space next year.

Houston-based Space Services pioneered the concept of burials in space when it launched the cremated remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in 1997.

Among the ashes of 173 others going on the trip with Cooper's are those of James Doohan, who played Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott in Star Trek.

Gordon Cooper was born in Shawnee in 1927 and joined the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1946. He later transferred to the Air Force before being selected as one of the United States' first seven astronauts as part of the Mercury program.