NASA has dedicated its newest, state-of-the-art research facility in Hampton, Virginia to Katherine Johnson.
The $23 million building will house four of the organization’s data centers as a part of NASA’s Langley Research Center’s 20-year revitalization plan. The honoring (which can be viewed in the video above) comes following the commercial and critical success of Hidden Figures, a film that tells the story of three black women who broke barriers at NASA. Johnson was one of those three women, helping calculate the coordinates for the very first human spaceflight, as well as checking the landing calculations for John Glenn, the first astronaut to orbit the Earth before he was launched into space.
“We’re here to honor the legacy of one of the most admired and inspirational people ever associated with NASA,” Langley Director David Bowles said in a press release. “I can’t imagine a better tribute to Mrs. Johnson’s character and accomplishments than this building that will bear her name.”
The event took place this past Friday, with Johnson in attendance to cut the ribbon for the facility’s opening. Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of the book that inspired the film, was also in attendance serving as the event’s keynote speaker. “Telling your story has been an honor,” Shetterly said. “Your work changed our history and your history has changed our future.”
As for Johnson’s response to the honor?
“You want my honest answer,” Johnson said in regards to the honor. “I think they’re crazy.”