Because of her prominence on the original Star Trek TV series, Nichelle Nichols‘ Lt. Uhura has long been hailed as an inspiration for women and people of color to achieve their dreams in both science and science fiction. Now it’s time for Nichols to share a part of that dream in actuality by heading into the stratosphere.
Earlier this month, Nichols announced that she will be a passenger on a special NASA flight that will travel to the edge of space, where she will be among the first civilians to use the new SOFIA telescope.
“I am honored to say that I will be among the first non-essential personnel to experience NASA’s newest telescope: SOFIA,” wrote Nichols. “I’ll board a special 747 with a very specially built telescope integrated into the fuselage, taking off at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center near Palmdale, California.”
The TV series Inside Edition briefly interviewed Nichols about her pending experience. It’s one of the first on-camera interviews for Nichols since she suffered a stroke earlier this year. In the video, Nichols can’t seem to stop herself from bursting with excitement about her upcoming trip. She even sings Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon!”
This isn’t the first time that Nichols has participated in one of NASA’s flying observatories. As related on her StarPower page, Nichols wrote, “SOFIA is actually a second generation Airport Observatory. The first generation was the Keiper Airborne Observatory, flown in the mid 1970’s, which I also had the honor being able to fly on, and even operate the equipment!”
Nichols’ SOFIA flight is scheduled for September 15th.
Star Trek fans, share your thoughts on Nichols’ latest scientific adventure in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Inside Edition