The remains of ‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols are heading to space : NPR
Mark Ralston / AFP via Getty Images
More than five decades after the original Star Trek series is over, its beloved media officer will venture into the unknown of reality when Nichelle Nichols‘ash is launched into deep space later this year.
Nichols, the pioneering actress who played Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek in the 1960s and in several of the franchise’s feature films, passed away at the age of 89 in July. She is remembered as one of the first black women to appear in a major television series, as well as credited with inspiring women and people of color joining NASA.
And now her iconic journey beyond the stratosphere continues. United Launch Alliance – an American spacecraft launch provider – announced last week that part of Nichols’ ashes would travel into deep space on a Vulcan rocket with Celestis, a private company dedicated to sending people’s cremated remains and DNA into space for memorial flights.
The first Celestis Voyager service will launch later this year and will be named Business flight in honor of its passengers.
It will also bring with it the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife, actor Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, as well as that of James Doohan, who played Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the series and films.
“We are delighted to fulfill, with this mission, a promise I made to Majel Barrett Roddenberry in 1997 that we would one day join her and her husband, Star Trek creator Gene, Roddenberry, on a deep space memorial flight,” said Celestis Co- Founder and CEO Charles M. Chafer in a statement. Press Release.
The flight is expected to launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral and travel more than 250 miles into deep space, beyond the Earth-Moon system and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, during what the company calls “a first mission of its kind.”
Willing participants can pay to send their own DNA or part of the cremated remains of their loved one on the journey, with tickets starting at $125,000. Limited availability and closed reservation on Wednesday.
Fans can also participate remotely by send a message of gratitude to Nichols online, which the company says will also be sent into space. Shake it up, Scotty!