Photo: Getty Images
It's official! NASA's Independent Verification and Validation Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia is now called the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility. The 100-year-old former hidden figure was responsible for calculating historic flight trajectories for the first American to go into space, for the first American to orbit earth, as well as the flight path for the first human trip to the moon.
"I am thrilled we are honoring Katherine Johnson in this way as she is a true American icon who overcame incredible obstacles and inspired so many,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a new release on Friday. “It’s a fitting tribute to name the facility that carries on her legacy of mission-critical computations in her honor."
I’m thrilled to announce @NASA has renamed our IV&V Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, after Katherine Johnson. It’s a fitting tribute for a true American icon who overcame incredible obstacles and inspired so many. https://t.co/J6bP82lQxM— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) February 22, 2019
The renaming of the facility comes after a bill for the redesignation was successfully pushed through Congress and signed into law in December. A rededication ceremony for the newly renamed center is set to take place at a later date.
"It’s an honor the NASA IV&V Program’s primary facility now carries Katherine Johnson’s name," NASA IV&V Program Director Gregory Blaney said. “It’s a way for us to recognize Katherine’s career and contributions not just during Black History Month, but every day, every year."
According to one of Johnson's daughter, Joylette Hylick, the pioneering NASA mathematician "remains in awe and honored by" all the recognition she's received - and "can’t imagine why people would want to honor her for just doing a good job."
Ms. Johnson, we honor you for blazing a trail and paving the way for present and future Black women in STEM. Thank you!