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Ashes of Nichelle Nichols, Gene Roddenberry to Rest in Space

The space burial will also include a sample of ashes from James "Scotty" Doohan and VFX legend Douglas Trumbull

nichelle nichols gene roddenberry ashes space burial celestis
Nichelle Nichols on Stark Trek (NBC) and Gene Roddenberry (NASA)

    Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and actor Nichelle “Uhara” Nichols are set to boldly go where few humans — living or dead — have gone before. As Universe Today reports, portions of their ashes will be launched into space on the “Enterprise” memorial mission on a rocket ship dubbed the Vulcan Centaur.

    The project comes from the Houston-based company Celestis, which specializes in space burials for human remains. Celestis arranges for previously-scheduled space flights to take up samples of between one and seven grams of ashes as a secondary payload. The Vulcan Centaur comes from United Launch Alliance, and is commissioned to drop the Peregrine lunar lander on the Moon, to pave the way for NASA’s crewed Artemis missions. Afterwards, the rest of the shuttle — complete with it secondary payload of Star Trek ashes — will enter permanent orbit around the Sun.

    Nichols passed away last month and was a recent addition to the manifest. “I’m sure she would have much preferred to go on the shuttle,” Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, said. “But this was a pretty close second.”

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    Joining Nichols and Roddenberry on the flight are ashes of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Gene’s wife, as well as James “Scotty” Doohan and VFX titan Douglas Trumbull.

    “We’re very pleased to be fulfilling, with this mission, a promise I made to Majel Barrett Roddenberry in 1997 that one day we would fly her and husband Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry together on a deep space memorial spaceflight,” Celestis co-Founder and CEO Charles M. Chafer said. “The mission is named Enterprise in tribute to them.”

    At the Celestis website, fans who wish to pay tribute to Nichols’ can send in writing, music, photos, and other media. “All names and messages will be digitized and launched with her on her journey” on the “Celestis Mindfile,” which is a pretty stellar name for what is almost certainly a lightweight flash drive.

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    No exact date has been set for the Vulcan Centaur mission, but it could launch as soon as December.

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