The ashes of James Doohan were smuggled onto the International Space Station in 2008, three years after the Star Trek actor's death. As any Trekkie will know, Doohan was famous for playing chief engineer Montgomery Scott, a.k.a. Scotty, on the original series and its many movie adaptations. Inspiring the often-quoted phrase "Beam me up, Scotty," Doohan ironically took a posthumous trip to space when an astronaut brought along his ashes for a trip to the ISS.
Speaking with The Times in a new interview, video game entrepreneur Richard Garriott revealed that he snuck Doohan's remains onto the ISS when he served as a private astronaut for a 12-day mission in 2008. According to Doohan's son, Chris, it was the late Star Trek star's wish to make it to the ISS someday. After multiple requests for Doohan's ashes to be transported to the ISS were denied, Chris reached out to Garriott, who agreed to help fulfill Doohan's wish by sneaking the remains.
Even more fittingly, Garriott says he left Doohan's ashes along with a laminated card of the actor hidden on the vessel before leaving, meaning the late Star Trek star may have spent the past 12 years onboard the ISS. While the mission was apparently a success, the downside is that Garriott and the Doohan family had to keep it under wraps for years to ensure the ashes weren't disturbed.
Garriott explains, "His family were very pleased that the ashes made it up there but we were all disappointed we didn't get to talk about it publicly for so long. Now enough time has passed that we can. As far as I know, no one has ever seen it there and no one has moved it. James Doohan got his resting place among the stars."
"Richard said 'We've got to keep this hush hush for a little while' and here we are 12 years later," Chris added. "What he did was touching-it meant so much to me, so much to my family and it would have meant so much to my dad."
The role of Scotty played a huge part in Doohan's life. After playing the part in the original series and several followup movies, Doohan would later return to the part in episodes of the sequel shows Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also lent his voice to animated versions of Scotty in Star Trek: The Animated Series and various video games.
Doohan died in 2006 due to complications of pulmonary fibrosis and was cremated after his death. Some of his ashes have already made it to outer space in years past, with a portion launched into space on a rocket for a four-minute suborbital flight in 2007. In 2012, ashes in an urn were flown into space on a private rocket as part of a test flight. While these also made for incredible moments, it's even better to know that Doohan had gotten his wish of actually visiting the ISS granted.
This news comes to us from The Times.