Beam Me Up, Scotty: James Doohan’s Ashes Were Smuggled on the ISS

James Doohan, Scotty of the original Star Trek series, got his wish of being buried among the stars 1 photo
Photo: CBS Photo Archive
James Doohan, the late actor forever ingrained in pop culture and our collective memory as engineer James Montgomery Scott, a.k.a. Scotty from Star Trek, is resting with the stars. In the most literal sense.
Doohan passed away in 2005, and according to The Times, one of his final wishes was that he be buried among the stars. As his son Richard says, the actor had “three passions: space, science and trains. He always wanted to go into space.”

He had that wish granted in 2008, and the world had no idea about it until now.

Video game developer Richard Garriott traveled to the International Space Station in 2008, spending 12 days in orbit as the sixth ever space tourist. Days before he boarded the Russian Soyuz capsule that would take him to the ISS, he was approached by the Doohan family with a most peculiar request: was there some way he would be able to smuggle the actor’s ashes on to the ISS?

According to Garriott himself, this was the second time the family had tried to fulfill the star’s wish, so he set out to do whatever he could to help out. He had three sets of pictures of Doohan printed out, and he placed his ashes between the photos, laminating them. He then slipped the photos into the flight data file, which had already passed inspection. The photos never did.

One photo he hid on board the ISS, where it remains to this day. The other, he sent floating into space, and a third was returned to the Doohan family. The photo still on the ISS has orbited the Earth 70,000 times so far, hidden beneath the cladding on the floor of the Columbus module on the space station.

“James Doohan got his resting place among the stars,” Garriott tells the media outlet.

“It was completely clandestine,” he continues. “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 Doohan family has confirmed Garriott’s story, saying how grateful they are to him for going all out to ensure the actor’s final resting place is exactly where he wanted it. In space.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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