Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols’s NASA Work

Nichelle Nichols in Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA. Courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA is now available for audiences to watch from the comfort of their home.

The documentary focuses on Nichelle Nichols’s work not so much on Star Trek but a career in science.  This doesn’t happen without one particular Star Trek convention in 1975.  Nichols listened to Jesco von Puttkamer speak but one thing was on her mind: where were the women and minorities.  A trip to NASA headquarters would reveal that both women and minorities worked there.  However, none were working as astronauts.  Two years later, Nichols met with John Yardley and the rest is history.  Without her involvement, there is certainly no way that 8,000 recruits send in their applications.  Among them are a few members of the Challenger crew.  It is devastating to see the Challenger footage.

Nichelle Nichols was a regular on the convention circuit until within the past few years.  Following a dementia diagnosis, she announced her convention retirement.  Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic took away the big farewell convention.  In any event, it’s nice to watch a documentary that celebrates the other aspect of her life: her work with NASA.  Another documentary celebrating her life is currently in production.

Fathom Events previously held a one-night screening in early February.  If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not going to movie theaters right now.

For those who enjoy bonus features, I’m sorry to report that the content is exclusive to Apple pre-orders only.  More on those features below.


The film chronicles how Nichols transformed her sci-fi television stardom into a real-life science career when, in 1977, she embarked on a campaign to bring diversity to NASA. Nichols formed the company Women In Motion, Inc. and recruited more than 8,000 African American, Asian and Latino women and men for the agency. Nichelle and her program continue to influence the younger generation of astronauts as well, including Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut in space. Despite an uphill battle against a bureaucracy that was hesitant to let her get involved, Nichols persevered and is credited by NASA for turning it into one of the most diverse independent agencies in the United States Federal Government.

Bonus Features, exclusive to the Apple release:

  • “The Story Behind the Story” featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Everyone Loves Nichelle
    • The Art of the Science
    • Hailing Frequencies Closed
  • Original Teaser
  • Concourse Teaser
  • Theatrical Trailer

DIRECTOR:  Todd Thompson
SCREENWRITERS:  Joe Millin, John McCall, and Benjamin Crump
FEATURING:  Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Michael Dorn, Ivor Dawson, Eric Deggans, Kerry, Mark Joels, with Rod Roddenberry, Al Sharpton, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pharrell Williams, and Martin Luther King III, Guy Bluford, Eileen Collins, Frederik D. Gregory, Story Musgrave, Winston Scott, Charles F. Bolden Jr.

Shout Factory releases Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA on Digital and VOD on February 16, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.