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Late 'Star Trek' Star Nichelle Nichols' Ashes To Be Launched Into Space In Fitting Final Tribute

Late 'Star Trek' Star Nichelle Nichols' Ashes To Be Launched Into Space In Fitting Final Tribute
Justin Baker/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Actor Nichelle Nichols passed away in July after a long career in Hollywood.

She broke racial boundaries with her role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on Star Trek—one of the first Black female lead characters in a television series and the first in a sci-fi series.

Now she'll be immortalized forever in "the final frontier." A portion of her ashes and a sample of her DNA will be launched into space.

Private spaceflight company Celestis International announced Friday they will fly Nichols' remains some 186 million miles into space aboard a rocket called Vulcan, in reference to another Star Trek character, in a fitting final tribute to a trailblazer.

In a statement announcing the space burial, Celestis CEO Charles M. Chafer wrote:

“We are truly honored to add a legendary actress, activist, and educator to the Enterprise Flight manifest."
"Now our Enterprise Flight will have on board the person who most completely embodied the vision of Star Trek as a diverse, inclusive, and exploring universe.”

Enterprise Flight will also include cremains of other Star Trek legends including creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Doohan and visual effects master Douglas Trumbull.

Chafer noted Nichols' historic role as Lieutenant Uhura.

“Her role on Star Trek was as significant as it was legendary."
"Ms. Nichols was the first Black woman in a leading role in a network television series to portray a character that was not shackled by the stereotypes of Hollywood’s past.”

A kiss shared between Nichols' character and William Shatner's character in 1968 was also the first interracial onscreen kiss. The first Black woman to fly to space in 1992—Dr. Mae Jemison—cited Nichols as an inspiration for her career as an astronaut.

The celestial burial was approved by Nichols' son Kyle Johnson, who thought it would be an “appropriate memorial for her" given her best known acting role.

Nichols will be symbolically joined in space by her son who will submit his own DNA to allow him to undertake the journey with his mother.

Johnson said:

“My only regret is that I cannot share this eternal tribute standing beside my mother at the launch.”
"I know she would be profoundly honored for this unique experience and enthusiastically encourage ALL of her FANS to join us vicariously by contributing your thoughts, affections, memories, [Nichelle Nichols] inspired successes, dreams, and aspirations via email to be launched with her on this flight!”

The Enterprise Flight is slated to travel between 150 million to 300 million kilometers—about 93,000,000 to 186,000,000 miles—beyond the Earth-Moon system into interplanetary space.

Johnson told The Los Angeles Times:

"It's where she belongs."

On Twitter, fans absolutely loved the tribute.

In addition to her acting career, Nichols also worked for NASA in the 1970s to help recruit more women and people of color into the organization.

She was instrumental in recruiting the first United States' woman astronaut Sally Ride and the first Black NASA chief Charlie Bolden.