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Celestis Inc., a private space flight company that works with NASA, will include some of the actress’ ashes on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket as part of the upcoming Enterprise flight, scheduled to take off sometime later this year.
The flight will begin in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is slated to go beyond the James Webb telescope and into interplanetary deep space, where the company says the rocket will become the most distant permanent human repository outpost and a pathfinder for the human exploration of space.
Nichols, who played communications officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in Gene Roddenberry’s original 1966 Star Trek series, died in late July. She was 89. The actress became famous for her groundbreaking portrayal of a Black female authority figure in a major TV role, which came just two years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed.
After she considered leaving Star Trek over the racism she experienced at the hands of network executives, she was famously encouraged to continue in her role as Uhura on the USS Enterprise by civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As part of the flight, Nichols’ ashes will be joined by a few fellow Star Trek names James “Scotty” Doohan and both Gene and Majel Roddenberry. All four will have a portion of their cremated remains aboard the Enterprise alongside more than 100 other individuals.
This is not the first time members of the Star Trek family have had portions of their remains sent to space. Gene’s ashes have been sent on a number of Celestis missions, including one in 2014.
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