Actress Nichelle Nichols—who shined as Lieutenant Uhura in the 1960s show Star Trek: The Original Series—will have a final resting place among the stars. After the legendary talent passed away on July 30, 2022 of natural causes, her son, Kyle Johnston, donated a portion of her ashes to be sent into space via the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket.
Although Nichols began her career in musical theater and Broadway, she made history in her role as Lt. Uhura. Not only was she one of the first prominent Black female leads, playing a strong and pivotol role in the beloved TV show, but she also shared one of the first interracial kisses on TV with Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner. Furthermore, Nichols carried this pioneering role outside of the studio, helping NASA recruit female astronauts and starting her own science foundation, Women in Motion.
The Celestis memorial trip—aptly dubbed the “Enterprise flight”—will be honoring other Star Trek icons, including the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Doohan (who played “Scotty”), and VFX pioneer Douglass Trumbull. Fans of Nichols and the Star Trek series can pay tribute in the form of writing, art, and other media via the memorial on the Celestis website. All contributions will be digitized and included on the space voyage.
The ashes of actress Nichelle Nichols—who played Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek: The Original Series—will be sent into space.