Nichelle Nichols, best known as Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, will have her ashes released in space. She’ll be placed aboard the Celestis Voyager Memorial Spaceflight, which will carry her ashes out into interplanetary space, beyond the James Webb Space Telescope. Nichols won’t be going alone, as the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife, as well as the remains of James Doohan (“Scotty”) will also be on the flight.
Reservations for the flight closed on August 31st, and started at $12,500. Before the liftoff event later this year, Celestis will be hosting an event for three days. There will be tours of the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida, along with an on-site memorial service and the presence of astronauts. All the events can be viewed through a webcast.
The Celestis flight will be on the Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is a part of United Launch Alliance. It will also take some human genome DNA samples into space with the cremated remains. The flight has been a long time in the making. Though it is not common to send remains into space, it is becoming something that more people are interested in doing in the future.
Nichols’ last years were difficult, as she dealt with a battle for conservatorship, dementia, and failing overall health. Friends and family members all got involved in the battle for what was “best” for Nichols at that time. She was 88, and the cognitive decline she was experiencing made it difficult for her to choose what she wanted or needed with confidence.
Her home was sold, and she was moved to another location against the wishes of some who were close to her. Now that she has passed away, sending her remains into space seems like a fitting tribute to someone who made such a mark on a generation of fans growing up with the original Star Trek and the Enterprise’s journey through space.
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