Star Trek star James Doohan's remains were smuggled aboard the International Space Station, a secret mission kept under wraps for 12 years. Richard Garriott, the famed entrepreneur and video game developer known also as "Lord British" who created the Ultima series, hid Doohan's remains among his belonging and then placed them beneath a floor piece aboard the ISS. "It was completely clandestine," Garriott tells The Times in a new interview. "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. As far as I know, no one has ever seen it there and no one has moved it. James Doohan got his resting place among the stars."
After twice being denied their request to send Doohan's ashes to the station, Doohan's family contacted Garriott just days before his 12-day private mission to the station in 2008. "Richard said 'We've got to keep this hush hush for a little while' and here we are 12 years later," Doohan's son, Chris, says. "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."
Doohan played Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in Star Trek, reprising his roles in the six live-action films featuring the show's cast, Star Trek Generations, and the episode "Relics" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and voicing him in Star Trek: The Animated Series and multiple Star Trek video games. He died in 2005 due to complications from pulmonary fibrosis, a condition it is believed he contracted due to substances he came into contact with during World War II.
Doohan was cremated following his death. In 2007, a portion of his ashes was sent into space on the SpaceLoft XL rocket during its four-minute suborbital flight. In 2012, an urn containing some of Doohan's ashes was placed aboard the Falcon 9 rocket during the second test flight of SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo capsule.
As Scotty, Doohan left an indelible mark on popular culture through the phrase "beam me up, Scotty," which even non-fans associate with Star Trek and Captain Kirk requesting a return to the Starship Enterprise. That the phrase was never once spoken on the show, at least not in that exact configuration, hasn't done stopped it from being widely used.