The axle of Scotty from Star Trek is aboard the International Space Station

The ashes of the late James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott on the original Star Trek television series, has been on board the International Space Station for 12 years – and the Sunday Times of London has the fascinating history of how it happened. Doohan died in 2005 at the age of 85 and his family wanted to fulfill his wish to join the ISS.

Official requests to bring Doohan’s ashes to the ISS were denied, but Richard Garriott – one of the first private citizens to travel on the space station – managed to smuggle some of Doohan’s ashes into the space station’s Columbus module. Garriott says he laminated a photo of Doohan and his ashes and placed them under the floor of the Columbus. He did not tell anyone about the plan – only he and Doohan’s family knew until now.

“It was completely clandestine,” Garriott told the Times. “His family was very happy that the ashes could get there, but we were all disappointed that we could not talk about it in public for so long. Now enough time has passed that we can, ”

This is not the first time Doohan’s ashes have gone to heaven. A portion of its ash was aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket in 2008, but the rocket failed minutes after launch. And in 2012, an urn with some of Doohan’s ash flew into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9. According to the Times, From Doohan’s traveled about 1.7 billion kilometers through space and orbited the earth more than 70,000 times.

Doohan’s son Chris thanks Garriott for smuggling his late father’s ashes to the ISS. “What he did was touch – it meant so much to me, so much to my family and it would have meant so much to my father,” he said.

Years after his death, Scotty still goes with boldness … well, you know the rest.