Space was truly the final frontier for actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on the original Star Trek series. His ashes have now been on the International Space Station for 12 years after being smuggled aboard in 2008, so he was able to achieve his goal of being aboard the ISS.
Doohan passed away in 2005 at the age of 85, and his family wanted to help him fulfill his wish, even if it was posthumously. Although official requests to send his ashes to the International Space Station were denied, Richard Garriott—a video game entrepreneur and one of the first private citizens to venture onto the ISS—successfully smuggled some of the ashes. He secretly placed them alongside a laminated picture of Doohan under the floor of the Columbus.
In an interview with the Times, Garriott stated “It was completely clandestine. 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.”
Doohan’s ashes have made other ventures into space, too. In 2008, a portion of them were aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 1, and in 2012, more launched with the SpaceX Falcon 9. According to the Times‘ article, Doohan’s ashes have now orbited Earth over 70,000 times, collectively traveling about 1.7 billion miles in space.
The late actor’s family members were pleased he could finally get his wish. His son Chris thanked Garriott after smuggling the ashes aboard the ISS, stating “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.”
via The Verge