Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols boldy goes... on a NASA mission
The actress, most known for her role playing the chief communication officer Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek series told Reddit during an AMA Thursday that she will be flying aboard NASA’s SOFIA space telescope in September.
Sadly, both the telescope and Nichols will not be flying into space, but instead flying at a height of 50,000 feet in the air (which is still very impressive) in a specially converted Boeing 747.
This isn’t the first time Nichols has joined NASA on a mission. Previously the actress flew aboard NASA C-141 Astronomy Observatory, which analyzed the atmospheres of Mars and Saturn during an eight-hour mission at high altitudes. She was also a special guest at the Jet Proposition Laboratory in Pasadena in 1976 where she viewed Viking 1’s soft landing on Mars. Most recently, she toured the space shuttle simulator and Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in 2010.
Cover: Wikimedia Commons
Facts about: Nichelle Nichols
Nichols was asked by NASA to help recruit minority and female personnel. Among some of her recruits were Dr. Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut, United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, Charles Boden, NASA’s current administrator and Lori Garver, NASA’s former Deputy Administrator.
Asteroid 6814 Nichols is named in her honor.
Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1982 novel Friday to her.