NASA honors 'Hidden Figure' Katherine Johnson with a new facility in her name

NASA honored Katherine Johnson, the former NASA employee who inspired the movie “Hidden Figures,” by unveiling a new research facility on Friday named after her.

The new facility, the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility is a “state-of-the-art lab for innovative research and development supporting NASA’s exploration missions,” according to a NASA press release.

The 37,000-square-foot facility an “energy efficient” structure worth $23-million at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

“The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis,” according to the release.

Johnson, an African-American woman was a trailblazing “human computer” at the Langley Research Center in the 1960s, according to NASA. She’s was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

In a recorded message, Johnson, now 99, spoke about how it felt to be honored by NASA.

“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” she said, according to the Guardian. “I was excited at something new, always liked something new, but give credit to everybody who helped. I didn’t do anything alone but try to go to the root of the question and succeeded there.”

Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of “Hidden Figures,” which told the stories of Johnson and the other “human computers,” told the Guardian that this Johnson deserved the honor.

“Today all of these things seem inevitable,” Shetterly said. “But without her past full of diverging roads and choices that made all the difference we would not be standing on the brink of this future.”

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