The ashes of Nichelle Nichols will be launched into space on a Vulcan rocket.
Nichols’ ashes will be interred alongside those of other Star Trek veterans.
The ashes of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek, will be launched into deep space on a rocket in her and several other Star Trek veterans’ honour (via Reuters). Kyle Johnson, Nichols’ son, donated her ashes after his mother died in July at the age of 89.
Nichols’ ashes will be launched into space on the Vulcan Centaur rocket, with the memorial spaceflight company, Celestis, leading the “Enterprise Flight” mission. There is no set date for the launch, which will most likely be determined by the United Launch Alliance’s ongoing development of the Vulcan rocket.
Nichols will be joined on the mission by the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel Barrett, who played the series’ nurse Christine Chapel. James Doohan, who played Scotty, the Enterprise’s engineer, and visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull, who has worked on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, and other projects, will also be on board.
When the rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral, it will carry over 200 capsules containing ashes, DNA samples, and names, messages, and pictures submitted by users all over the world. Celestis will store the capsules in the rocket’s upper stage, which will be launched into space and orbit the Sun between 150 million and 300 million kilometres away.
Nichols was a pioneer in the film industry and the first Black woman in a major television role. Her legacy extends beyond the screen, as she worked with NASA to encourage the recruitment of astronauts from underrepresented backgrounds. She is credited with assisting in the space missions of the first Black man, Colonel Guion Bluford, and the first woman, Sally Ride.