Nichols passed away at the age of 89
(NASA) – NASA celebrates the life of Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek actor, trailblazer, and role model, who symbolized to so many what was possible.
She partnered with us to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts and inspired generations to reach for the stars.
In the above photo from February 2012, Nichols was a featured guest speaker in the Building 8 auditorium at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. at a special event commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nichols, who died July 30, didn’t just break new ground on “Star Trek” by playing one of the first leading recurring Black female characters on U.S. television.
A decade after the show ended, she did the same for NASA, appearing in a promotional film aimed at recruiting women and people of color to apply to be astronauts, as she recounted in a 2012 visit to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The next astronaut class, appointed in 1978, included Guy Bluford, the first Black American in space, and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
Nichols and NASA crossed paths many times over the years. Astronauts and other employees cited Nichols’ performance as Uhura as one of the reasons they wanted to join the agency.
Video (2021): Nichelle Nichols: Woman on a NASA Mission
Video (2013): Lt. Uhura’s Warp Speed Visit to Dryden
Feature (2019): 50 Years of NASA and Star Trek Connections
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