NASA Honors ‘Hidden Figure’ Katherine Johnson - NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

NASA Honors ‘Hidden Figure’ Katherine Johnson

The facility’s program contributes to the safety and success of NASA’s highest-profile missions by assuring that mission software performs correctly

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    NASA Honors ‘Hidden Figure’ Katherine Johnson
    NASA/NBC Washington

    NASA has renamed a facility in West Virginia to honor one of the pioneering black women featured in the book and film "Hidden Figures."

    The Independent Verification and Validation Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, is now the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility.

    Johnson, a West Virginia native, was part of a group of women who crunched numbers at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton during the early days of the U.S. space program.

    “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,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a release. “It’s a fitting tribute to name the facility that carries on her legacy of mission-critical computations in her honor.”

    President Donald Trump signed into law in December an act of Congress calling for the redesignation.

    The facility’s program contributes to the safety and success of NASA’s highest-profile missions by assuring that mission software performs correctly, NASA said. IV&V now is in the process of planning a rededication ceremony.

    “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 in the release. “It’s a way for us to recognize Katherine’s career and contributions not just during Black History Month, but every day, every year.”

    New Study Says Beards are 'Dirtier' Than Dogs

    [NATL] New Study Says Beards are 'Dirtier' Than Dogs

    A recent study suggests that a man's beard contains more germs than a dog's fur. All 18 men's beards studied by researchers at Switzerland's Hirslanden Clinic had higher levels of bacteria in them, compared to only 23 out of 30 dogs. Some beards had so much beard bacteria the men could get sick, the study says.

    (Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019)

    Johnson’s career spanned more than three decades with NASA and its predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

    Among her professional accomplishments, Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission in 1961. The following year, Johnson performed the work for which she would become best known when she was asked to verify the results made by electronic computers to calculate the orbit for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission.

    She went on to provide calculations for NASA throughout her career, including for several Apollo missions.

    At a time when racial segregation was prevalent throughout the South, Johnson and fellow African American mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- who was later promoted to engineer -- broke through racial barriers and helped pave the way for the diversity, NASA said.

    Their story became the basis of the 2017 film "Hidden Figures," based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.

    Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 and, in 2017, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, dedicated the new Katherine Jonson Computational Research Facility in her honor. Johnson celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 26.

    Mumps Outbreak Hits Indiana University

    [NATL] Mumps Outbreak Hits Indiana University

    Officials at Indiana University's main campus say they now have 20 confirmed cases of mumps at the school as of February. Cases were logged among students in dormitories and off-campus housing.

    (Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019)