Sunday , July 25 2021

NASA renamed its facility after Catherine Johnson, who fought racism

Johnson (in the chair), handed over by the then President Obama's Medal of Liberty in 2017


NASA has awarded Catherine Johnson, who opposed racism in the US space agency, and has become a legendary mathematician, renaming her Independent Verification and Validation facility (IV & V) in West Virginia.

Johnson, who turned 100 in August last year, is an African-American woman who is leading a career in the agency at a time when tensions in the race are high, and important roles with NASA's predecessor NASA's National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics are predominantly dominated of men.

"I'm excited to honor Catherine Johnson that way, as it is a real American icon that overcomes incredible obstacles and inspires so many people," said Jim Brindstedin, a NASA administrator, on Sunday.

According to NASA, US President Donald Trump has signed in December a Congress law calling for redesign.

The program of the facility contributes to the safety and success of NASA's highest profile missions, ensuring that the mission software is properly implemented.

"It's a good honor to call the facility that carries her legacy of critical calculations in her honor," added Brixton.

According to NASA, Johnson, whose journey is demonstrated in Hidden Figures for 2016, calculates the trajectory of Alan Shepard's "Freedom 7" in 1961, the first American to enter space.

In 1962, Johnson performed the work he would be best known for when he was asked to check the results made by computers to calculate the orbit for John Glen's mission of friendship.

Later, Johnson provided calculations about NASA throughout his career, including several Apollo missions.

Johnson was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2015 by former President Barack Obama, the nation's highest civic honor.

"I am honored that NASA IV & V Programme's main facility already bears the name of Catherine Johnson," said Gregory Blanney, Program Director.

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