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Nichelle Nichols for NASA

Nichelle Nichols portrayed communications officer Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek TV series (and six later films). Her role as a professional black woman in a science fiction story was a breakthrough in 1966, and it took Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to convince Nichols of the importance of her influence. After the series was cancelled, she volunteered to recruit women and minority astronauts for NASA. This film from 1977 is one of the recruitment pitches she made, introducing the space shuttle program to potential new astronauts.   

The program was a success. Among those recruited were Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the former NASA administrator and veteran of four shuttle missions, Frederick D. Gregory, former deputy administrator and a veteran of three shuttle missions and Lori Garver, former deputy administrator.

-via Boing Boing


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