OFFICIAL PUBLIC FAN TRIBUTES

Hailing Frequencies Open
Nichelle Nichols –
A Legacy Remembered,
1932-2022

Nichelle Nichols has inspired us all. Her portrayal of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek® was groundbreaking and even inspired Martin Luther King Jr.’s family! Now you can share your own story about how she inspired you and it will be sent into deep space aboard the first Celestis Voyager Memorial Spaceflight – the Enterprise Flight, launching later in 2022.

(There’s no cost to share your story!)

OFFICIAL PUBLIC FAN TRIBUTES

Hailing Frequencies Open
Nichelle Nichols –
A Legacy Remembered,
1932-2022

Nichelle Nichols has inspired us all. Her portrayal of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek® was groundbreaking and even inspired Martin Luther King Jr.’s family! Now you can share your own story about how she inspired you and it will be sent into deep space aboard the first Celestis Voyager Memorial Spaceflight – the Enterprise Flight, launching later in 2022.

(There’s no cost to share your story!)

Post Your Tribute Message for Nichelle

Nichelle Nichols, known as Lt. Uhura from Star Trek®, is to join “Scotty” Doohan & the Roddenberrys on the upcoming Celestis Memorial Spaceflight – the Enterprise Flight. Launching later in 2022.

Join Nichelle’s Memorial Spaceflight!

– Nichelle, the Roddenberrys, and James “Scotty” Doohan have chosen Celestis to launch a symbolic portion of their cremated remains aboard the upcoming Enterprise Flight. Share a message showing how Nichelle Nichols inspired you, and watch it launch into deep space on her final mission! Enter your information along with your message and join others worldwide in celebrating Nichelle and the discovery she inspired.

Simply enter your information along with your message and join others from around the world in celebrating Nichelle and the discovery she inspired.

Star Trek represented, and still does represent, the future we can have, a future that is beyond the petty squabbles we are dealing with here on Earth, now as much as ever, and we are able to devote ourselves to the betterment of all humankind by doing what we do so well: explore. This kind of a future isn’t impossible and we need to all rethink our priorities to really bring that vision to life.”

Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura)

Featured Tribute Messages

“I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her.”

- William Shatner

"Kirk" on Star Trek®

“My heart goes out to Nichelle’s son Kyle, Nichelle’s sisters, and Sky Conway, who stood by and up for our dear co-worker Nichelle Nichol these very trying past years. Love always.”

- Walter Koenig

“Chekov” on Star Trek®

“I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend…We lived long and prospered together.”

- George Takei

"Sulu" on Star Trek®

“A remarkable woman in a remarkable role. Nichelle, you will be deeply missed. Sending much love and respect.”

- JJ Abrams

Filmmaker and Composer

“Heartbroken at the news of her passing, however, I am comforted in the knowledge that she illuminated the way for so of us many with her grace, beauty, talent, intelligence and her commitment to humanity going boldly to the stars!”

- LeVar Burton

"Geordi" on Star Trek® The Next Generation

“Nichelle Nichols was The First.  She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again. May she Rest In Peace.”

- Kate Mulgrew

"Janeway" on Star Trek® Voyager

“The importance of Nichelle’s legacy cannot be over-emphasized. She was much loved and will be missed.”

- Adam Nimoy

Son of Leonard Nimoy (“Spock”)

“Lt. Uhura quenched the thirst of Black Americans everywhere who yearned for a future in which they could see themselves living, learning and loving in a world where the color of their skin didn’t limit their future — the world that freedom fighters were grappling for in real time. She opened the doors for Black women in entertainment to be viewed as powerful, capable, beautiful and intelligent.”

- Celia Rose Gooding

"Lt. Uhura" on Star Trek® Strange New Worlds

Tribute by Roseanne Circelli

DeAr Nichelle,
My love of space science began with Star Trek and watching you as a woman on the bridge of the Enterprise told me that women can achieve anything. That women are capable, confident and strong and that we can do and be anything. I always loved your character and that you had brains and beauty. Fly high among the stars and travel where no man has been before. God speed and God bless you. Xxx Roseanne Circelli

Tribute by John Blosser

You pointed the way to a better tomorrow when we learn to reach beyond the more base parts of our natures. Bless you.

Tribute by David Lang

Thank you for all the memories I hope you make it to deep space and can tell us of what you have seen… We will all miss you safe flight my love I hope you find what your looking for out there.

Tribute by Yevgeniy Tsynman

Nichelle was one of the first African American female leads on an American network prime time television series. As such, she became an inspiration and role model to many women and teens of color hoping to someday break into the world of television and the space program.
-Yevgeniy Tsynman

Tribute by Beth Clair

You or legend and you always will be. We met you at a convention and you couldn’t of been more gracious and accommodating. You and Marina were walking from the stage to wherever it was that you were supposed to go after …but when people approached you , you stopped and took pictures and was so sweet and kind. I remember somebody had a baby and you just swept the baby up and let then take pictures of you and her with Marina and it was so beautiful.Thank you.You are amazing and treasured for ever

Tribute by Corvus Brooks

Nichelle Nichols– I know it's illogical to be speaking to you as though you are still here, but in all honesty, I believe you are indeed here. You live on in the hearts of those you inspired, the strides you made, and the progress you sparked in so much of the world we see today, and hopefully the worlds we will see tomorrow. Before I became a Trekkie, I had loved science, but never considered astrobiology. You inspired my love of all things intergalactic. Live long and prosper; rest in space.

Tribute by Don Hacklander

As a police officer who grew up watching the original Star Trek, the calm, competent, and comforting voice of a dispatcher on the radio during stressful calls, reminded me of your calm, competent, and calming voice on Star Trek. God Bless and God Speed.

THE FOUNDATION

The Nichelle Nichols Foundation

The foundation will carry on her legacy of inspiring the next generation to reach for the stars and guide us closer to Gene’s vision of the future. Launching on December 28th on her 90th birthday with a pre-launch planned for this fall. Opt-In for early access and updates.

Tribute to Nichelle Nichols

The woman who captivated the world with her portrayal of Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on Star Trek’s original series was born to Lishia and Samuel Nichols in Robbins, Illinois, on December 28th, 1932. One of 10 children, according to her IMDb biography, “As long as she could remember, she wanted to do nothing but sing, dance, act and write despite no one else in her family following any of those tracks; although her father could tap dance. He not only became mayor of their town, Robbins, Illinois, but also a magistrate.”

Nichols embodied Black Hollywood glamour and was integral to entertainment history before her star turn on Star Trek. She was known as a singer and dancer, possessing a rich, stunning singing voice that she would later showcase in a short film she produced for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. She was discovered by Duke Ellington during her teenage years and grew up around the corner from Mahalia Jackson. In 1951 during her first marriage, her only son, Kyle Johnson, was born; he would also become an actor.

In 1966, Nichols –then 33 years old – became one of the first Black television stars, arguably changing the world and how it viewed racial and gender roles. The television show Star Trek, created by screenwriter and producer Gene Roddenberry, showcased a multiracial, multigender crew. The show’s spacecraft, Enterprise, boasted a Black female communications officer on its bridge: Lt. Uhura. Actress Whoopi Goldberg, who later starred in Star Trek: The Next Generation, remarked in a recent interview, “Nichelle was the first Black person I’d ever seen who made it to the future. She was head of communications. This show and this woman was a beacon that said yes, we’ll be there. And it just made me feel like that was an amazing thing, and she helped propel other women to go into space.”

Nichols (fourth from the left) with most of the cast of Star Trek visiting the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Rockwell International plant at Palmdale, California, U.S., 1976

Roddenberry’s message – that it would take all kinds of beings to summit space – was not, by any means, unintentional. In a 2011 interview with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Margaret Weitekamp, “[Gene] didn’t want just a communications officer. Anyone could do that, could say lines. He wanted to add a dimension to [these] people who go out where no man or woman has gone before. [For them] to be real people, to have other talents. And so Uhura’s [talent] was as a singer. She had a sense of humor. She had a no-nonsense mind.” Roddenberry created the role, in fact, with Nichols strictly in mind for the part.

However, after the first season had ended, Nichols became frustrated with the show. According to IMDb, she discovered “the studio was withholding her fan mail” and had also received racist harassment. She submitted her resignation notice to Roddenberry on a Friday, who initially refused to accept her letter. According to the Star Trek website, “He took it and looked at it with sad eyes. He was behind his desk, and I was standing in front of him, and – I’ll never forget it – he said, ‘I’m not going to accept this yet.’ He put it in his desk drawer and said, ‘Take the weekend and think about this, Nichelle. If you still want to do this on Monday morning, I will let you go with my blessings.’ I said, ‘Thank you, Gene.’ And I thought, ‘Whew, that was rough, but I got through it.’” Nichols planned to return to Broadway as a singer and dancer.

The same weekend, she attended what she remembered as an NAACP fundraiser. An organizer approached her at the event, stating her “biggest fan” was waiting to meet her. In her words:

I said, “Oh, certainly,” I stood up and turned around and who comes walking over towards me from about 10 or 15 feet, smiling that rare smile of his, is Dr. Martin Luther King. I remember saying to myself, “Whoever that fan is, whoever that Trekkie is, it’ll have to wait because I have to meet Dr. Martin Luther King.” And he walks up to me and says, “Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.” You know I can talk, but all my mouth could do was open and close, open and close; I was so stunned.

Nichols remembered Dr. King as saying to her, “Do you not understand what God has given you? You have the first important non-traditional role, a non-stereotypical role. You cannot abdicate your position. You are changing the minds of people across the world, because for the first time, through you, we see ourselves and what can be.” This conversation with America’s most legendary civil rights leader convinced Nichols to tear up the resignation letter and remain in her Star Trek role, where she stayed until the original series was canceled in 1969.

Nichelle Nichols on Martin Luther King, Jr. convincing her not to leave Star Trek®

In the meantime, Roddenberry’s creation continued to break television barriers. In 1968, William Shatner – who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original series – and Nichols shared what is considered television’s first interracial kiss in the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” NBC executives were nervous that this kiss would anger viewers, particularly in the deep South. However, Nichols maintained that reactions to the kiss were mostly positive; many girls wrote letters asking her what it was like to kiss someone as handsome as Captain Kirk (and vice versa – many men asked Shatner what it was like to kiss a woman as beautiful as Nichols).

Nichols also underestimated how her status as a role model would impact actual spaceflight. During the mid-1970s, NASA sought new astronauts for its Space Shuttle program. The program would utilize not just test pilots but a diverse array of scientists. And for the first time, NASA openly welcomed women and minorities to its astronaut corps. But messaging was a problem; the space agency had trouble getting the word out that all kinds of people could apply to the astronaut program. What it needed was someone with true star power. Enter Nichelle Nichols. While Star Trek had been canceled years before, it had attained cult status and a devoted fan base called “Trekkies.” By the end of the 1970s, the franchise had even released the first in a series of motion pictures.

Nichelle Nichols as Uhura on Star Trek®. *Star Trek is owned by CBS and Viacom, all rights reserved.

Nichols had befriended NASA’s Jesco von Puttkamer after hearing him speak at a 1975 Star Trek convention and had given a speech at a National Space Institute (now the National Space Society) event where she’d taken NASA to task over its lack of diversity. NASA was listening, and the agency’s then-Administrator, James Fletcher, asked her to conduct a public relations campaign to entice a more diverse population to apply to the program.

According to Weitekamp, Nichols was resolute and demanded that NASA’s new approach was not just lip service. She remembered, “So, I said, if I take this on, and this becomes [real], I’ll be your worst nightmare…I intend to speak before Congress for this, and to all the newspapers and all the television [stations]…I’m going after PhDs in physics, chemical engineering…And these people, I will not insult by trying to convince them of something that is not possible.” Nichols’ public service campaign – conducted by her wearing a bright blue NASA flight suit – convinced thousands of potential candidates to apply to the astronaut program. Her clarion call, “This is your NASA,” inspired qualified candidates, including Sally Ride and Guy Bluford, to sign up.

In January 1978, NASA’s newest class of astronauts was announced, the “Thirty-Five New Guys” or TFNGs. It boasted the first six women astronauts, three African-Americans, and one Asian-American. Today’s NASA, which seeks to place a woman and a person of color on the Moon during this decade, looks much different from the program that existed when Star Trek debuted in 1966, thanks to Nichols. She remained a friend to and supporter of the space agency following her “Woman in Motion” publicity blitz, which later became the subject of a documentary bearing the same name.

Nichols is survived by her son, Kyle. When she passed away in late July at age 89, she was remembered as a television legend and a civil rights pioneer, showing millions a hopeful vision of humanity’s future. Her vision, along with that of Gene Roddenberry’s, continues to inspire generations. In her words:

Star Trek represented, and still does represent, the future we can have, a future that is beyond the petty squabbles we are dealing with here on Earth, now as much as ever, and we are able to devote ourselves to the betterment of all humankind by doing what we do so well: explore. This kind of a future isn’t impossible and we need to all rethink our priorities to really bring that vision to life.

ENTERPRISE FLIGHT MISSION MESSAGES

What message will you add to the
Celestis® Memorial Spaceflight?

Donations are welcome to the Nichelle Nichols Foundation for diversity and non-included populations in STEM.

A Final Letter to Fans

Dear Friends,

You’ve heard the timeless adage: “Life comes full circle,” and “what goes around comes around.” I believe that, rather than moving in a circle and returning to the same starting point again and again, we travel the course of an infinite spiral. When we return to a starting point we are at a different level, hopefully a higher one; a spiritual peak from which to view our lives. And, thanks to you, what a life I’ve lived.

Before I made the leap to working with the great Duke Ellington, before I became a professional dancer and singer, I had to discover myself. As I learned to believe in my talent, my voice, myself, I learned that I could make others believe as well.

Gene Roddenberry believed in me. His belief presented me with a fantastic opportunity: to help conceive and create the groundbreaking role of Uhura on Star Trek, the original series.

And my belief was expanded to embrace Gene’s vision of a bright future for humanity. When I was on those wonderful sets with all of the cast members, the universe of Star Trek began to feel not so much a fantasy but an opportunity to lay the groundwork for what we might actually achieve by the 23rd Century… a bold aspiration and an affirmation of Uhura as we eagerly await her arrival.

After my “tour of duty” on the original series ended I was invited to become a spokesperson for NASA, where I helped recruit and inspire a new generation of fearless astronauts; young men and women with a strong belief in themselves, in their potential, and in a future of learning and achievement for all humanity. In motivating them as others once did me, it’s as if my life had come back, full circle, to where the dreams of a young woman began.

Today, I want to invite you, my beloved friends and devoted fans; everyone who’s helped to make my dreams come true, to see me on my Farewell Tour later this year.  It will be a celebration of my career in entertainment with all its challenges, achievements, and the joy of the journey.  I look forward to seeing all of you there.

Lovingly,

Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura 
on 
Star Trek, 1967

About Celestis

Celestis is the originator of Memorial Spaceflight missions, and the only company to have been selected by NASA to honor one of its scientists. For more than two decades, Celestis has been an iconic pioneer and global leader of the commercial space age.

A Few of Our Completed Missions

Starseeker flight
Heritage Flight
Tribute Flight
New Frontier Flight

Next Mission: Voyager 01
– The Enterprise Flight

The first Celestis Voyager Service – currently scheduled for launch in Later 2022 - will be named Enterprise Flight in special dedication to those on board, including honored participants Gene and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry and James Doohan.

In 1976, responding to a nationwide write-in campaign of Star Trek fans, President Gerald Ford renamed the first Space Shuttle “Enterprise,” hosting the cast and creator at the Sept. 17th Palmdale, CA ceremonial rollout of Enterprise. This merging of science fiction with reality using the global appeal of Star Trek is once again taking place as Celestis launches Voyager 01 – The Enterprise Flight.

Next Mission: Voyager 01
– The Enterprise Flight

The first Celestis Voyager Service – currently scheduled for launch in Later 2022 - will be named Enterprise Flight in special dedication to those on board, including honored participants Gene and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry and James Doohan.

In 1976, responding to a nationwide write-in campaign of Star Trek fans, President Gerald Ford renamed the first Space Shuttle “Enterprise,” hosting the cast and creator at the Sept. 17th Palmdale, CA ceremonial rollout of Enterprise. This merging of science fiction with reality using the global appeal of Star Trek is once again taking place as Celestis launches Voyager 01 – The Enterprise Flight.

More Ways You Can Join the Mission

Join the Celestis MindFile™

The Celestis MindFile™ will be sent on the upcoming Enterprise Flight and can archive over 81,000 pages of eye-readable text or pictures on a one-inch nickel disc lasting for the next 300 generations! Join the archive with your name, personal message, or photo.

Send DNA to Space

The Celestis DNA™ service includes – at no extra cost – a DNA Memorial Home Banking Solution kit. In addition, the DNA Memorial will provide a second DNA sample permitting long-term DNA storage at home and off-planet!

Send Ashes to Space

Launch a solo occupancy flight capsule containing the ashes of a loved one to space or opt for the double occupancy Gemini capsule to fly with your loved one aboard the Enterprise Flight. Destination: Deep Space. Select this option for yourself or a loved one, regardless of choice for final disposition.

A Legacy of Trust

For nearly three decades, Celestis has honored the lives of loved ones from more than 35 nations. People from every background and leaders in science,  exploration, the aerospace industry, NASA, entertainment & film, education, and military service have placed their trust in Celestis to fulfill their goal of spaceflight. In return, Celestis provides unparalleled customer service with respect, care, and commitment. We are honored to share with you their stories.

Nichelle Nichols

Broadway actor, singer, and dancer, known for her role as Lt. Uhura in the television and film series Star Trek®

James "Scotty" Doohan

Canadian actor, known for his role as Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott (”Scotty”) in the television and film series Star Trek®

Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. (Col., USAF)

Aerospace engineer, test pilot, United States Air Force pilot, and as one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury orbited the Earth aboard Faith 7

Gene & Majel Barrett Roddenberry

Screenwriter, actress, and producer of Star Trek® TV series

Douglas H. Trumbull

Legendary VFX Pioneer, Filmmaker & Director, Artist, Inventor, Storyteller, Teacher, Mentor

Phil Chapman

Mission Scientist for Apollo 14, one of six missions that landed humans on the Moon

Enterprise Flight Mission Patch

For all of our Star Trekkie fans, Star Trek’s®  influence upon the Enterprise mission can be felt deeply even in the mission’s patch, which was designed by space artist Eric Gignac. The patch depicts “the dominant star…crossed by a version of the traditional NASA astronaut logo – a shooting star borne on a winged column – signifying that all those aboard will reach space and, symbolically, become astronauts as they make their final journey among the stars.”

Press & Media Contact:
Celestis, Inc.
Pazia Schonfeld
845-721-9456
Pazia@universeprcentral.com

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