It happened 12 years ago, but very few people knew about it – until The Times of London revealed on Dec. 25 that the ashes of James Doohan – the actor who played one of Star Trek’s most beloved characters, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott – had been smuggled aboard and secretly hidden on the International Space Station in 2008.
Doohan’s ashes were secretly taken onto the ISS by Richard Garriott, a private astronaut, during a 12-day mission that year, the report said, giving Doohan’s remains a “celestial resting place.”
The Times cited Garriott, a video game entrepreneur who said: “It was completely clandestine.”
According to a report by The Verge, after his death in 2005 at the age of 85, Doohan’s “family wanted to fulfill his wish of getting on the ISS.”
The Verge reported that “official requests to bring Doohan’s ashes on the ISS were denied.”
However, Garriott – one of the first private citizens to travel on the space station – managed to take a laminated picture of Doohan, along with some of his ashes, into the space station’s Columbus module, where he hid them under the floor of the Columbus.
The Verge cited Garriott, who told The Times: “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.”
The actor, whose role onboard Star Trek’s USS Enterprise was as the starship’s chief engineer, has in death orbited the Earth more than 70,000 times and has traveled close to 1.7 billion miles through space, The Times report said.
The Verge cited Doohan’s son Chris, who said about Garriott: “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.”