How the Star Trek actor’s ashes ended up in space

James Doohan played engineer Scott in the original Star Trek cast, and he ended up having an unusual dream come true.

James Doohan He may even go unnoticed by name in popular memory, but his main character in his career has resulted in the recognition of millions of fans over four decades.

The Canadian played the Montgomery Scott, the chief engineer of the spaceship Enterprise in the original series and in seven Star Trek films.

Responsible for leading problem solving in the interspace vehicle, Scotty He influenced hundreds of fans to pursue engineering, astronomy, and physics, as well as having one particular fan.

Era Neil Armstrong, who thanked the existence of such a responsible figure to represent engineering, in one of his last public appearances: “From one old engineer to another, thank you colleague.”

However, the passion for space was reciprocal; Doohan He was obsessed with space missions and, while still alive, expressed his desire to visit the International Space Station (ISS).

The desire ended up being interrupted by problems derived from Alzhaimer, aggravated by pneumonia, which caused his death in 2005, at age 85, interrupted, but not ruled out.

James in his later years, during a Star Trek fan convention / Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A dream

Knowing the desire of Doohan, his body was cremated in a way that could easily be transported through the ashes.

The actor’s family, several times over the next two years, tried to ask NASA to take his ashes to the ISS and possibly dump them into space.

However, the US aerospace agency rejected all the requests.

The alternative the family appealed to was attempting to dump the ashes of a newcomer to the aerospace launch business, Space X, who attempted to ship the remains of Doohan in space twice, failing.

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Hope arose in 2007, when Richard Garriott, an American businessman in the field of electronic games, announced that he would pay a sum to participate in the American space program, being one of the tourists approved by NASA to visit space.

While undergoing medical examinations and training, he contacted the actor’s family, of which he was a fan, and negotiated the realization of the dream, without notifying the agency.

Garrott holds a package of ashes thrown by ISS / Credit: Disclosure / YouTube / PR Celebrity / 12.29.2020

Off the ground

Sent in 2008 to the ISS, Ricardo carrying, hidden among his few personal items allowed by the agency, a small package containing part of the actor’s ashes, as well as a photo of Doohan.

The ‘smuggling’ went unnoticed by NASA for years, until it was revealed by the businessman himself in December 2020 during an interview with the British newspaper. The times.

According to him, only the actor’s family was aware of it and it was a “completely clandestine” act, carried out far from his fellow missionaries.

“The family was very pleased with the ashes, but we were all frustrated that we hadn’t talked about it publicly for so long. Now enough time has passed [para falarmos sobre]”Added Garrett.

At last, Garrett showed the newspaper that he still has the photograph, the size of a credit card, which features James smiling during a Star Trek convention, as well as a poster with his date of birth and death.


+ Learn more on the subject in excellent works available on Amazon:

Star Trek: Utopia and Social Criticism, by Eduardo Pacheco Freitas (2020) – https://amzn.to/2KG2Njt

Privateer: The Flight Engineer, por SM Stirling y James Doohan (2000) – https://amzn.to/38MSB0t

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Star Trek: A Cultural History, by M. Keith Booker (2008) – https://amzn.to/3rHmqbp

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