W. Va. NASA Facility Named For ‘Hidden Figures’ Mathematician

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A NASA facility is West Virginia has been renamed to honor mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose calculations helped astronauts return to Earth.

The structure in Fairmont is now known as the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility. News outlets report Congress passed a bill allowing the name change and President Donald Trump signed it into law on Dec. 11.

The move follows efforts by West Virginia leaders to have Johnson’s contributions celebrated.

Long before the digital era, Johnson worked as a human “computer” at the agency that became NASA, working in relative obscurity as an African-American woman. Her contributions were later recognized in the “Hidden Figures” movie, with actress Taraji P. Henson playing her role.