On July 30, the planet lost among its brightest lights when “Star Trek” royalty Nichelle Nichols, known round the galaxy as Communications Officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, passed on at age 89 in Silver City, New Mexico.
Although she have been a tireless champion of human spaceflight and the recruitment of minority astronauts for many years, she never really had the opportunity to visit into space herself while alive. However now her cremated remains will undoubtedly be heading in to the heavens because of the Texas-based company Celestis (opens in new tab).
Celestis provides “memorial spaceflight services” for those who desire to celebrate the life span of someone you care about having an off-Earth experience. Now (Aug. 25) it had been announced that Nichols was selected to be honored on Celestis’ first-ever deep space mission: Her cremated remains and a DNA sample will undoubtedly be aboard the business’s upcoming “Enterprise Flight (opens in new tab)“.
Nichols legacy includes being the initial black woman in a respected role on a network TV series. She was a beacon of expect breaking racial barriers and entrenched societal stereotypes being an inspiration to all or any.
Between 1977 and 2015, she served as NASA’s recruiter in chief and spokesperson to find viable female and minority candidates for the space shuttle program. Her extraordinary efforts boosted NASA’s female astronaut candidates from 100 to at least one 1,649 and the amount of minority recruits from 35 to over 1,000.
“Nichelle Nichols was a trailblazing actress, advocate, and dear friend to NASA. At the same time when black women were seldom seen on screen, Nichelle’s portrayal as Nyota Uhura on ‘Star Trek’ held a mirror around America that strengthened civil rights. Nichelles advocacy transcended television and transformed NASA,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement shortly Nichols’ death (opens in new tab).
“After Apollo 11, Nichelle managed to get her mission to inspire women and folks of color to become listed on this agency, change the facial skin of STEM and explore the cosmos. Nichelle’s mission is NASA’s mission,” Nelson added. “Today, once we work to send the initial woman and first person of color to the moon under Artemis, NASA is guided by the legacy of Nichelle Nichols.”
Blasting off later this season atop United Launch Alliance’s appropriately named Vulcan rocket, Nichols’ cremated remains will undoubtedly be associated with those of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, feisty “Star Trek” engineer James “Scotty” Doohan, and “2001: AN AREA Odyssey” VFX wizard Douglas Trumbull, amongst others.
“We have been truly honored to include a legendary actress, activist, and educator to the Enterprise Flight manifest,” Charles Chafer, co-founder and CEO of Celestis, said in a statement. “Now our Enterprise Flight could have on board the one who most completely embodied the vision of ‘Star Trek’ as a diverse, inclusive, and exploring universe.”
The Enterprise Flight (opens in new tab) will travel 93 million miles to 186 million miles (150 million to 300 million kilometers) into deep space beyond the Earth-moon system. The memorial mission will launch a lot more than 200 flight capsules containing cremated ash remains, special messages and greetings and DNA samples from global clients on a timeless odyssey into interplanetary space.
That isn’t the main reason for the flight; Vulcan’s main job involves sending Pittsburgh company Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander toward the moon.
But Vulcan’s Centaur upper stage could keep on trucking into deep space, entering an orbit round the sun and finally learning to be a remote outpost referred to as Enterprise Station. Nichols may also be joined by her son, Kyle Johnson, who’ll submit their own DNA sample, allowing him to take this rare journey along with his mother.
“My only regret is that I cannot share this eternal tribute standing beside my mother at the launch,” Johnson said in a statement. “I understand she’d be profoundly honored because of this unique experience and enthusiastically encourage most of her fans to become listed on us vicariously by contributing your ideas, affections, memories, NN inspired successes, dreams and aspirations via email to be launched with her with this flight! WOW!”
Fans everywhere can celebrate Nichols’ life by submitting their name and tributes to her free of charge on Celestis’ website (opens in new tab).All names and messages received will undoubtedly be digitized and launched in to the cosmos.
Jeff Spry can be an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video gaming, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a cryptof collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.