NASA to hold formal ceremony to rename W.Va. facility

Archive photo of Katherine Johnson courtesy of NASA via the West Virginia Humanities Council
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FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — NASA is holding a formal ceremony to rename a West Virginia facility after a mathematician whose calculations helped astronauts return to Earth.

The ceremony is set for Tuesday in Fairmont for the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility.

Congress passed a bill allowing the name change and President Donald Trump signed it into law on Dec. 11.

In June, George Mason University named a building on its Manassas, Virginia, campus in Johnson's honor. Johnson, who is now 100, worked at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton as a human "computer."

She was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film "Hidden Figures," which documented the contributions of her and two other African-American women while overcoming racism and sexism.

Last year, Johnson was honored by alma mater West Virginia State University with a bronze statue and scholarship dedication.