How “Star Trek” Actor James Doohan’s Ashes Were Secretly Transported to the International Space Station

Doohan portrayed Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the engineer of the USS Enterprise

"Star Trek" Actor James Doohan's Ashes Brought to International Space Station
James Doohan (1920 - 2005) as Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott in the science fiction series "Star Trek," circa 1967.
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Though they weren’t beamed up, the ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan were smuggled aboard the International Space Station more than a decade ago.

The remains of Doohan, who portrayed USS Enterprise engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the classic sci-fi show, were brought to and hidden on the ISS by video game developer Richard Garriott in 2008 during a 12-day mission he made as a private astronaut, according to The Times of London.

Doohan, who died at the age of 85 in 2005, had always wanted to go to space but two previous requests to bring his ashes to ISS made by his son Chris were denied. So, with the backing of Doohan’s son, Garriott undertook the secret mission to get the ashes on board.

According to Garriott, he put some of Doohan’s ashes inside a laminated picture of the actor and then tucked the phtoto under the carpeting on the floor of the space station’s Columbus module.

Since he did not have permission to bring the ashes onto the ISS, Garriott and Doohan’s family kept the story a secret in order to make sure there was no problem with the Russian or U.S. space agencies.

“It was completely clandestine,” Garriott told The Times. “His family was 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.”

The Times estimates that Doohan’s ashes have traveled about 1.7 billion miles across space and orbited the Earth more than 70,000 times.

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