Science

NASA celebrates the life and career of ‘Star Trek’ star Nichelle Nichols

“Star Trek” star and longtime advocate for diversity, Nichelle Nichols, is heading into retirement, and NASA made a video to thank her.

Nichols, 88, made his last public appearance at LA Comic Con which concluded on Sunday (December 3), according to his website. Nicholas is best known for her role as communications officer Uhura in “The Original Series” (1966-69) at a time when few other black women on television had such starring roles.

In recent years, media reports indicate that she may have dementia and be caught up in a guardianship battle. But its influence was immense in the space community, NASA said.

Related: Documentary Explores ‘Star Trek,’ Nichelle Nichols, And The Search For NASA Astronauts In The 1970s

Nichelle Nichols, Uhura in “Star Trek,” stars in the new documentary “Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA,” which recounts her role in expanding diversity at NASA. (Image credit: Paramount +)

Long after the “Star Trek” program ended, Nichols took a turn to advocate for a more diverse astronaut corps that included women and other races, culminating in a NASA-funded campaign to recruit the first black women and astronauts in the 1970s.

“I learned about ‘Star Trek’ from my mother,” said Tracy Drain, a NASA flight systems engineer, in the NASA video posted on YouTube.

“She and her three sisters used to run home to see the original ‘Star Trek’ by Nichelle Nichols. They really enjoyed watching someone who looked like them playing such a character on television,” added Drain, who is Black.

Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols was employed by NASA to recruit new astronauts in the late 1980s.

“Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nichols was hired by NASA to recruit new astronauts in the late 1980s. (Image credit: NASA) (Image credit: NASA).

NASA’s first launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said all the women (since she’s white) appreciated seeing Nichols in her technical role as Uhura.

“What I love about Nichelle Nichols is how she embraced the role,” Blackwell-Thompson said in the video, “and how she portrayed us and gave us that roadmap for the future generation of women to follow. We definitely need more characters like Uhura “. today.”

The “Star Trek” legacy is also stronger than ever, as the franchise has several ongoing active series: “Discovery,” “Picard,” “Lower Decks,” and the new recruit, the Captain-inspired “Prodigy.” Janeway which was previously released. this autumn. Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew, was the first captain to star in the franchise during “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995-2001).

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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