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Nichols’ ashes fly to outer space


Lt. Uhura will be making one final voyage into space.

The memorial spaceflight company Celestis Inc. announced a portion of actress Nichelle Nichols’ ashes and a sample of her DNA will be carried into space later this year. Nichols, best known for her portrayal of Lt. Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series, died last month at age 89.

According to Celestis, Nichols’ ashes and DNA sample will be blasted into space aboard an aptly named United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket, in a memorial mission dubbed the Enterprise Flight by Celestis -– in tribute to the “Star Trek” spaceship. A portion of Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson’s DNA will also be aboard the flight.

“We are truly honored to add a legendary actress, activist, and educator to the Enterprise Flight manifest,” Charles M. Chafer, co-founder and CEO of Celestis Inc., said in a statement. “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.”

According to the company, the flight will also include ashes of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry; Roddenberry’s wife and “Star Trek” actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry; actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on the series; and visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull.

The Vulcan rocket will primarily be propelling a lunar lander toward the moon, but the ashes and DNA will continue deeper into space aboard the rocket’s upper stage. The upper stage will eventually enter orbit around the sun, where it will become an outpost dubbed Enterprise Station, according to the company.