Space, the final frontier, is also the final resting place for the actor who played one of the most beloved characters from “Star Trek.”
After 12 years of secrecy, James Doohan’s family revealed that some of the late actor’s ashes are resting inside the International Space Station.
Doohan, who famously played Scotty in the original “Star Trek” series, had always wanted to visit space. So with the help of Richard Garriott, a private citizen who visited the ISS in 2008, the actor’s remains have been orbiting Earth for over a decade now.
Garriott says he smuggled a laminated picture of Doohan that was sprinkled with the actor’s ashes aboard the space station and placed the photo under the floor in the station’s Columbus module. According to USA Today, Garriott didn’t tell anyone about the scheme, only he and Doohan’s family knew about it until recently.
In an interview with the Times, the actor’s son, Chris Doohan, expressed gratitude for Garriott’s actions. “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,” he said.
Days before the Times article published the 12-year-old secret, Chris Doohan teased the story with a tweet. “I have been keeping a secret for over 12 years,” he wrote. “Finally...I can tell everyone soon.”
I have been keeping a secret for over 12 years. Finally, I’ve been told that I can tell everyone soon. Stay tuned. #startrek— Chris Doohan (@ChrisDoohan) December 19, 2020
According to The Verge, Doohan’s ashes have been launched into space two other times, once in 2008 aboard a failed SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket mission, and once more in 2012 aboard Space X’s Falcon 9 mission.
USA Today states that Doohan’s remains in the International Space Station have traveled more than 1.7 billion miles in space and have orbited the Earth over 70,000 times.