Ashes of Star Trek ‘Scotty’ actor James Doohan smuggled aboard the International Space Station: ‘He always wanted to go to space’

Laminated photograph containing actor’s ashes was hidden behind cladding of the Columbus module

Annabel Nugent
Monday 28 December 2020 13:28 GMT
(Rex Features)

The ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan were allegedly smuggled aboard the International Space Station by video game developer and entrepreneur Richard Garriott.

Doohan famously portrayed Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the engineer of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise.

The Canadian actor died in 2005 aged 85, however, still managed to make it to space in the years since.

According to Deadline, Garriott was one of the first private citizens to visit the International Space Station (ISS) in 2008 during a 12-day self-funded mission as a private astronaut.

In a new interview, Garriott told The Sunday Times of how he was contacted by the actor’s son Chris Doohan, who said it was his father’s wish to make it to the ISS.

Garriott agreed to the proposition and received Doohan’s ashes, however, due to time constraints, was forced to bypass the official process necessary to bring objects aboard the station.

In what he says was a “completely clandestine” mission, Garriott smuggled several laminated photos of Doohan – which contained some of his ashes – onboard the ISS. He proceeded to secretly hide one of the cards behind the cladding in the floor of the station’s Columbus module.

“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,” said Garriott.

A second laminated card was reportedly jettisoned into space by Gariott, while the third was returned to the late actor’s son.

In 2012, a separate collection of Doohan’s ashes was launched on a SpaceX rocket.

Speaking to the Times, Doohan’s son praised Garriott for taking the risk on behalf of his father. He told the publication: “Richard said, ‘We’ve got to keep this hush-hush for a little while,’ and here we are 12 years later.

“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. My dad had three passions: space, science and trains. He always wanted to go to space.”

A video of Garriott with the card on the station was also published by the publication.

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