Twelve years after the event, James Doohan‘s son Chris has revealed that some of his father’s ashes were smuggled aboard the International Space Station.
“It was completely clandestine,” said Richard Garriott, who smuggled James Doohan’s ashes on to the ISS in 2008 during a twelve-day mission as a private astronaut.
“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.”
Twice before some of Doohan’s ashes were sent up into space; once in 2007 to the edge of space on a suborbital rocket, and in a failed attempt in 2008. The third time was the charm.
Chris Doohan contacted Garriott, the son of former astronaut Owen Garriott. A plan was hatched to slip the ashes aboard. They were sealed inside three cards bearing photographs of James Doohan. All three cards made it to space, and one was brought back to present to Chris Doohan.
There was not enough time to get approval to take the cards aboard, so once the deed was done, Garriott and Doohan’s family kept mum for the last twelve years.
“Richard said ‘We’ve got to keep this hush hush for a little while’ and here we are twelve years later. 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,” said Chris Doohan. “My dad had three passions: space, science and trains. He always wanted to go into space.”
“James Doohan got his resting place among the stars,” said Garriott.