The 82-year-old actress, who played the sci-fi franchise's first Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, is set to become one of the first "non-essential personnel" to experience SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy).

In partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center, SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747, made to include a reflecting telescope and other instruments NASA scientists use to study the "infrared universe", enabling researchers to study solar systems, comets, black holes, and more.

SOFIA is the second airborne observatory of its kind, with the first generation model originally flying in 1977, a exploration Nichols was also part of.

Nichols, who has been recovering from a stroke suffered in June (15), is set to take flight on 15 September (15) from NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.