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Nichelle Nichols is one of two African-American women to make history, by both acting in Star Trek and flying in a NASA Mission.
Nichols recently revealed, in a Reddit AMA, that she’s going to be part of an upcoming NASA mission, SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). The project is a telescope that operates from space and is housed inside of a 747, that flies 50,000 feet above the Earth.
This mission isn’t Nichols’ first rodeo, she first boarded SOFIA in 1977, when the project originally launched.
“I was on a similar flight, the first airborn observatory, back in 1977. It’s an amazing experience, you get a totally different perspective than from earth,” Nichols said in her AMA.
Nichols shared more details about the upcoming mission on her blog,
I am honored to say that I will be among the first non-essential personnel to experience NASA’s newest telescope: SOFIA. On September 15th, 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.
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 also added that she’s “currently working with NASA” to explore the possibilities for this upcoming mission.
h/t The Mary Sue.