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Star Trek Actor James Doohan's Ashes Are Secretly Stashed Aboard The ISS

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A one-time private astronaut reveals that he secretly stashed Star Trek actor James Doohan’s ashes aboard the International Space Station. Doohan was a little-known but very experienced actor, mostly in television, when he scored his big break as chief engineer Montgomery Scott on Star Trek: The Original Series.

Indeed the role of Scotty would prove a tremendous boon to Doohan’s career as he would go on to portray the character on the big screen seven times beginning with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ending with 1994’s Star Trek: Generations. Doohan also got to play Scott on Star Trek: The Next Generation in a memorable episode which saw the long-lost Starfleet officer being brought back to life after having his pattern locked in a transporter cycle for 75 years (an appropriate fate for the character linked to the iconic phrase “Beam me up, Scotty.”). After Doohan passed away in 2005 at the age of 85, his family endeavored to give the fictional space traveler a real journey to the stars by launching his ashes aboard a sub-orbital rocket that returned to Earth after a brief flight (unfortunately the ashes were lost on a mountainside).

Now it’s been revealed for the first time that some of Doohan’s remains have achieved a more permanent place in Earth orbit on board the International Space Station. Entrepreneur Richard Garriott just revealed to The Times that in 2008, when he flew as a private astronaut to the ISS aboard a Russian capsule, he secretly carried with him a picture of Doohan with a few of his ashes laminated onto it and stashed it on the space station under the floor cladding. As Garriott said:
“It was completely clandestine… His family were pleased that the ashes made it up there but were disappointed we didn't get to talk about it publicly. Now enough time has passed that we can. James Doohan got his resting place among the stars.”

Garriott says he was contacted by Doohan’s son Chris just days before his $30 million private 12-day flight to the ISS via Space Adventures, the company he himself co-founded, about the possibility of getting his father's ashes into space. Since Garriott’s flight, the ISS has logged 1.7 billion miles in orbit, with a small piece of Doohan literally hidden in the floor.

Doohan in fact was not the first Star Trek-related figure to posthumously leave the Earth, as the show’s creator Gene Roddenberry had his own remains shot into space in 1997. Having his ashes smuggled onto the space station indeed seems like an appropriate final adventure for Doohan, who may have considered acting on Star Trek a rather mundane accomplishment given that as a young Canadian soldier he stormed the beaches at Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion. After years of Doohan’s ashes residing in secret aboard the ISS, it’s fun that this story finally made its way out to the world, so Star Trek fans can relish knowing the beloved Scotty got beamed up for real.
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