Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols takes part in NASA mission

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

Actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on the original "Star Trek" TV series, took part in a NASA mission Tuesday night.

Nichols, 82, took part in NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope flight that launched from the Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

SOFIA, an 80/20 partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), consists of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope.

The airborne telescope allows scientists access to viewpoints that are unachievable from labs on Earth.

Nichols has been serving as an ambassador for NASA since the 1970s, helping to recruit astronauts who were women or minorities. Among those she has helped recruit was Sally Ride who was the first female American astronaut.

Nichelle Nichols gives the Star Trek Vulanc salute 'Live long and prosper' before boarding NASA's SOFIA Boeing 747SP aircraft, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2015 (NASA)