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The ashes of the late Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols will boldly go where few have gone when launched into space later this year aboard a historic Enterprise Flight.
Nichols, who was known for playing the iconic Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in all three seasons of the original show from 1966-1969, died July 31. She was 89.
Nichols, who will be launched later this year aboard the Vulcan rocket aptly named United Launch Alliance, will live long and prosper among the stars through Celestis Inc., the leader in commemorative spaceflight.
Nichols’ remains will join Gene Roddenberry, the late creator of Star Trek, who died in 1991, and his late wife and “First Lady of Star Trek” Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who passed away in 2008.
The cremated remains of the late “Star Trek” actor James Doohan, who played Montgomery “Scotty” Scott and died in 2005, and visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull, who died in February, will also be included in the mission to create the unique “Star Trek”. ” reunion flight.
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“We are truly honored to add a legendary actress, activist and educator to the Enterprise Flight manifesto,” said Charles M. Chafer, co-founder and CEO of Celestis Inc., in a release.
“Now our Enterprise Flight will have on board the person who most fully embodied the vision of Star Trek as a diverse, inclusive and exploratory universe.”
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The flight is expected to travel between 150 and 300 million kilometers into deep space and beyond the Earth-moon system.
On the mission, Nichols will also be joined by her son, Kyle Johnson, who will submit his DNA to enable him to take this journey with his mother.
“My only regret is that I can’t share this eternal tribute as I stand next to my mother at the launch,” Johnson said.
“I know she would be deeply honored for this unique experience and enthusiastically encourage all 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!” Johnson said in a statement.
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Fans are encouraged to submit their names and tributes to Nichols as part of a global public memorial page on enterprise-flight.com, which can then be digitized and launched on the journey with her.
Through Celestis, 200 flight capsules containing cremated remains, messages and DNA samples from customers around the world will also participate in the endless interplanetary space journey.
Nichols broke through the barriers to black women in Hollywood and was an advocate for space programs as NASA’s chief recruiter.
Nichelle Nichols was a pioneering actress, advocate and dear friend of NASA. At a time when black women were rarely seen on screen, Nichelle’s portrayal as Nyota Uhura on Star Trek America held up a mirror that strengthened civil rights television and transformed television. NASA,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a release.
“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. from color to the moon under Artemis, NASA is guided by the legacy of Nichelle Nichols.”
President Joe Biden released a statement shortly after her death last month praising the actress for shattering stereotypes during a pivotal time in the civil rights movement.
“In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a stage and screen pioneer who redefined what is possible for black Americans and women,” he said.
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He said she came from an “Illinois working-class family” and that she used her skills as a… actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country with Duke Ellington and giving “life to the words of James Baldwin.”
“During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first black woman to play a major role in a prime time tv show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek,” Biden said. “With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a pivotal story that reshaped scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by partnering with NASA to enable generations of Americans of all backgrounds to reach for the stars and beyond.”
Biden continued, “Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity and respect are the cornerstones of any society.”
She earned accolades for breaking stereotypes for black actresses, with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. personally encouraged her to stick with the TV series when she had doubts about continuing to work on the program. She met him at a civil rights meeting in 1967, at a time when she had decided not to return for the show’s second season.
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“He said, ‘You can’t do that,'” Nichols recalled. “You changed the face of television forever, and that’s why you changed people’s minds,” she said at a meeting of the civil rights leader.
During the third season of ‘Star Trek’, Nichols and another star of the series, William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk made TV history when they shared an interracial kiss.