Nichelle Nichols, the Star Trek legend who played Nyota Uhura and recently passed away, will have some of her ashes sent into space alongside Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and other legends from the series.
As reported by Reuters, James Doohan, who played Chief Engineer Scotty in Star Trek: The Original Series, will also have his ashes sent into space on this mission organized by a Texas-based company called Celestis Inc. Some of Doohan’s ashes have already been smuggled aboard the International Space Station. In 2008.
Roddenberry will be joined by the ashes of his wife Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who played nurse Christine Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series, and the ashes of famed sci-fi visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull will also be on board. . Trumbull’s credits include Star Trek: The Motion Picture and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This memorial flight will take place aboard the aptly named Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is being developed by the Boeing and Lockheed Martin United Launch Alliance joint venture. The mission will include more than 200 capsules of human remains and DNA for what Celestis calls its “Enterprise Flight.”
The flight “will go inside the upper stage of the rocket which will fly through deep space, past the gravitational pull of Earth and the Moon and eventually enter a perpetual solar orbit.”
Celestis lists some of the prizes from its commemorative missions, and they range from the $2,495 Earth Rise service which sends cremated remains or DNA into space in a weightless environment before returning to Earth, to the $12,500 Voyager service which sends the remains “well to the beyond the Moon” for a “permanent celestial journey”.
Nichols, in addition to being one of the most important trailblazers in television history by becoming the first black woman to appear in a major television series, also worked closely with NASA to help recruit minorities and women in the agency.
Roddenberry’s ashes have been flown into space before, but the first flight in 1992 saw his ashes fly through space and be brought back to Earth. There were other attempts to send his ashes into space on a more permanent journey, but these were never fully successful.
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