The ashes of Nichelle Nichols, who performed Lieutenant Uhura within the authentic “Star Trek” tv sequence and died in July, shall be launched into area later this yr.
Celestis, a personal spaceflight firm that works with NASA, will carry her ashes on a rocket set to journey between 150 million and 300 million kilometers into area past the Earth-moon system and the James Webb telescope.
Ms. Nichols, one of many first Black ladies to have a number one position on a community tv sequence, died at age 89 from coronary heart failure.
As Lieutenant Uhura, the communications officer on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise, Ms. Nichols was not solely a pioneering actor, however she was additionally credited with inspiring ladies and folks of coloration to affix NASA.
The United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket is about to hold greater than 200 capsules containing ashes, messages of greetings and DNA samples when it launches later this yr from Cape Canaveral, Fla., into deep area.
Ms. Nichols’s son, Kyle Johnson, is offering a DNA pattern to affix his mom on the area journey. “My solely remorse is that I can’t share this everlasting tribute standing beside my mom on the launch,” Mr. Johnson stated in an announcement.
Celestis stated the rocket would launch into area and ship a lunar lander towards the moon. It might then enter a steady orbit across the solar with the Celestis Memorial Spaceflight payload. On the finish of the rocket’s powered burn and coast section, the flight will turn out to be the Enterprise Station, which was named in tribute to “Star Trek.”
Among the ashes of different “Star Trek” figures, and followers, can even be onboard the spaceflight.
They embrace Gene Roddenberry, the creator of “Star Trek,” and his spouse, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who performed Nurse Chapel within the authentic sequence; James Doohan, who performed Montgomery Scott, the chief engineer of the usS. Enterprise; and Douglas Trumbull, who created visible results for “Star Trek: The Movement Image,” in addition to “2001: A Area Odyssey” and “Blade Runner.”
For the Celestis spaceflight this yr, the corporate is gathering tributes to Ms. Nichols from the general public to be digitized and included within the flight.
After Ms. Nichols appeared on the unique “Star Trek” sequence, which aired from 1966 to 1969, she started a decades-long affiliation with NASA.
Beginning in 1977, she helped promote the area company and helped its efforts to recruit individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. NASA has credited her with inspiring hundreds of girls and folks from minority teams to use to the company, together with the primary American girl in area, Sally Journey, and Charles Bolden, the NASA administrator from 2009 to 2017.
Mae Jemison, who grew to become the primary girl of coloration to go to area in 1992, typically stated Ms. Nichols’s efficiency on “Star Trek” impressed her curiosity within the cosmos.
After Ms. Nichols’s loss of life, the NASA administrator, Invoice Nelson, stated in an announcement that her “advocacy transcended tv and reworked NASA.”