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Ashes of Nichelle Nichols, Lieutenant Uhura From “Star Trek,” to Be Launched Into Deep Space

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The ashes of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura in the unique “Star Trek” television series and died in July, might be launched into space later this yr.

Celestis, a non-public spaceflight company that works with NASA, will carry her ashes on a rocket set to travel between 150 million and 300 million kilometers into space beyond the Earth-moon system and the James Webb telescope.

Ms. Nichols, one among the primary Black women to have a number one role on a network television series, died at age 89 from heart failure.

As Lieutenant Uhura, the communications officer on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise, Ms. Nichols was not only a pioneering actor, but she was also credited with inspiring women and other people of color 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 space.

Ms. Nichols’s son, Kyle Johnson, is providing a DNA sample to affix his mother on the space journey. “My only regret is that I cannot share this everlasting tribute standing beside my mother on the launch,” Mr. Johnson said in a press release.

Celestis said the rocket would launch into space and send a lunar lander toward the moon. It could then enter a stable orbit across the sun with the Celestis Memorial Spaceflight payload. At the top of the rocket’s powered burn and coast phase, the flight will turn out to be the Enterprise Station, which was named in tribute to “Star Trek.”

A few of the ashes of other “Star Trek” figures, and fans, will even be onboard the spaceflight.

They include Gene Roddenberry, the creator of “Star Trek,” and his wife, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who played Nurse Chapel in the unique series; James Doohan, who played Montgomery Scott, the chief engineer of the united statesS. Enterprise; and Douglas Trumbull, who created visual effects for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” in addition to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner.”

Mr. Roddenberry’s ashes have been sent to space several times before, including in 1997 on the primary Celestis spaceflight to hold ashes. The cremated stays of Timothy Leary, the LSD advocate, were also onboard that journey.

For the Celestis spaceflight this yr, the corporate is collecting 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” series, which aired from 1966 to 1969, she began a decades-long association with NASA.

Starting in 1977, she helped promote the space agency and helped its efforts to recruit people from underrepresented backgrounds. NASA has credited her with inspiring 1000’s of ladies and other people from minority groups to use to the agency, including the primary American woman in space, Sally Ride, and Charles Bolden, the NASA administrator from 2009 to 2017.

Mae Jemison, who became the primary woman of color to go to space in 1992, often said Ms. Nichols’s performance on “Star Trek” inspired her interest within the cosmos.

After Ms. Nichols’s death, the NASA administrator, Bill Nelson, said in a press release that her “advocacy transcended television and transformed NASA.”

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