September 26, 2018

Manchin Applauds Bill Renaming NASA Facility For West Virginian Katherine Johnson

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the Senate passage of legislation he cosponsored honoring the life, legacy, and scientific contributions of famed mathematician and West Virginian Katherine Johnson. The bill would rename the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, after Mrs. Johnson.

“I applaud my Senate colleagues for passing this legislation, which I was proud to cosponsor, to rename Fairmont’s NASA IV&V facility. Not only did Katherine Johnson, broaden our nation’s perceived physical limitations with her contributions to the space program, she also broke down discriminatory barriers that stood in the way of so many other women and people of color advancing in the workplace. Katherine Johnson is one of West Virginia’s finest and a groundbreaking, brilliant mathematician. No individual is more worthy of this honor than her. Through her brilliance, strength, and courage, she proved to the country that anyone—regardless of race, gender, or background—can touch the stars,” Senator Manchin said.

Katherine Johnson, of White Sulphur Springs, graduated with degrees in mathematics and French at the age of just 18 from West Virginia State, before becoming the first African-American woman to attend graduate school at West Virginia University. Katherine Johnson calculated trajectories for multiple NASA space missions including the first human spaceflight by an American, Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission. She also calculated trajectories for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission to orbit the earth. During her time at NASA, she became the first woman recognized as an author of a report from the Flight Research Division. In May 2016, she was awarded a Presidential Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from WVU for “attaining national and international preeminence in the field of astrophysics and providing distinguished leadership and service in her field.”