NASA has announced it will name its headquarters in Washington, D.C., after Mary Jackson, the agency’s first black female engineer,media reported. In 1951, Jackson began working for NASA’s predecessor, the National Aviation Advisory Board (NACA), when the western computer department was in quarantine. In 1958, in order to qualify as an engineer, she went to night school and began studying mathematics and physics, and in 1979 she was promoted to the highest rank in the Engineering Department.
The 2016 film Hidden Figures is about her work with other black female engineers, mathematicians Catherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan.
“Mary J. W. Jackson is one of a very important group of women who helped NASA successfully send NASA into space,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said in a press statement. “
Carolyn Lewis, Jackson’s daughter, said she was honored that NASA continued to celebrate her mother’s legacy. “She was a scientist, humanitarian, wife, mother and trailblazer who paved the way for the success of thousands of people, not only at NASA but across the country,” she said in a press statement. “
The decision to name the headquarters was made in the process of clearing the material problems left over from racial inequality in the United States and around the world. NASA is also involved in the campaign because one of its main parks, the Stannis Space Center, is headed by Senator John F. Kennedy. C. Stannis is named after him. And John F. Kennedy. C. Stannis stood in solidarity with apartheid in the 1950s and 1960s — and it was these laws that made Mary Jackson’s life and work hard.
In response to an initiative launched this week to rename the Stannis Space Center, NASA said it was aware of the importance of a dialogue on the renaming facility and was discussing the issue with NASA staff.
Jackson’s work at NASA included studying aerodynamics in the supersonic pressure tunnel, a 4-foot-by-4-foot wind tunnel that produces nearly twice the speed of sound. In order to train as an engineer, Jackson had to petition the local government to study with white students at what was then segregated Hampton High School. In 1958, she became an aerospace engineer and began specializing in aerodynamics. In the same year, she co-authored her first report, “The Effects of The Snoos Angle and The Mach Number on The Supersonic On Cones at Speeds.”
“Today, we are proud to announce that Mary J. W. Jackson, NASA headquarters building. It’s just the right place on the ‘Hidden Figures Way’, a reminder that Mary is one of the many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to NASA’s success. “