Celestis, Inc., a memorial space flights company, announced Thursday that it will send some of Nichelle Nichols’ ashes to space — a fitting resting place among the stars for the iconic and history-making “Star Trek” actress.
The tribute will involve “launching a symbolic portion of her cremated remains and a DNA sample into deep space” onboard the company’s upcoming historic Enterprise Flight, according to a release.
Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura on “Star Trek,” died in July at the age of 89. She was the first Black woman in a leading role in a network television series to portray a character that was not shackled by the stereotypes of Hollywood’s past, breaking barriers for Black women in Hollywood for the years, indeed centuries, to come.
“We are truly honored to add a legendary actress, activist, and educator to the Enterprise Flight manifest,” said Charles M. Chafer, Co-Founder and CEO of Celestis, Inc. “Now our Enterprise Flight will have on board the person who most completely embodied the vision of Star Trek as a diverse, inclusive, and exploring universe.”
Per the release, the Enterprise Flight launches later this year. Nichols will be joined on United Launch Alliance’s “aptly named” Vulcan rocket, along with other participants, by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, his wife and “First Lady of Star Trek” Majel Barrett Roddenberry, beloved “Star Trek” actor James “Scotty” Doohan, and VFX maestro and Hollywood icon Douglas Trumbull on “a once-in-a-lifetime Star Trek Reunion flight.”
The Enterprise Flight will travel between 150 million to 300 million kilometers into deep space -well beyond the Earth-Moon system to interplanetary space. This mission will launch over 200 flight capsules containing cremated remains (ashes), messages of greetings, and DNA samples from clients worldwide on an endless journey in interplanetary space.
Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, will submit his DNA to join his mother’s cremated remains on the mission.
“My only regret is that I cannot share this eternal tribute standing beside my mother at the launch.” Said Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson. “I know she would be profoundly honored for this unique experience and enthusiastically encourage ALL of her FANS to join us vicariously by contributing your thoughts, affections, memories, NN inspired successes, dreams, and aspirations via email to be launched with her on this flight! WOW!”
Nichols’ influence in “Star Trek,” led her to be appointed as NASA’s recruiter in chief and spokesperson to bridge the gap between their initial responses for mission specialists. Outstanding results were achieved in female and minority candidates for the Space Shuttle, current, and future space flight programs.
“Nichelle Nichols was a trailblazing actress, advocate, and dear friend to NASA. At a time when black women were seldom seen on screen, Nichelle’s portrayal as Nyota Uhura on Star Trek held a mirror up to America that strengthened civil rights. Nichelle’s advocacy transcended television and transformed NASA.” Said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “After Apollo 11, Nichelle made it her mission to inspire women and people of color to join this agency, change the face of STEM and explore the cosmos. Nichelle’s mission is NASA’s mission. Today, as we work to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon under Artemis, NASA is guided by the legacy of Nichelle Nichols.”