Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and Gene Roddenberry to Have Their Ashes Sent to Space

Nichelle Nichols, the Star Trek legend who played Nyota Uhura and recently passed away, will have some of her ashes sent to space alongside Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and other legends from the series.

As reported by Reuters, James Doohan, who played chief engineer Scotty on Star Trek: The Original Series, will also have his ashes sent to space on this mission organized by a Texas-based company called Celestis Inc. Some of Doohan’s ashes were previously smuggled aboard the International Space Station in 2008.

Image Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Image Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Roddenberry will be joined by the ashes of his wife Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who played nurse Christine Chapel on Star Trek: The Original Series, and renowned sci-fi visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull’s ashes will also be on board. Trumbull’s credits include Star Trek: The Motion Picture and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This memorial flight will be aboard the aptly named Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is under development by the Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance. The mission will include 200-plus capsules of human remains and DNA for what Celestis is calling its “Enterprise Flight.”

The flight will “go inside the upper rocket stage that will fly on into deep space, beyond the gravitational pull of the Earth and moon and eventually enter a perpetual solar orbit.”

Celestis lists some of the pricing for its memorial missions, and they range from the $2,495 Earth Rise Service that sends cremated remains or DNA to space to in a zero gravity environment before returning to Earth to the $12,500 Voyager Service that sends the remains “well beyond the Moon” on a “permanent celestial journey.”

Nichols, in addition to being one of the most important trailblazers in TV history by becoming the first black woman to be featured in a major television series, also worked closely with NASA to help recruit minorities and females to the agency.

Roddenberry’s ashes have been sent to space before, but the first flight in 1992 saw his ashes flown into space and brought back to Earth. There were other attempts to send his ashes to space on a more permanent journey, but those never fully succeeded.


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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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