WASHINGTON • Nasa has announced that it would name its Washington headquarters after Mrs Mary Jackson, the organisation’s first black female engineer and a pivotal player in helping US astronauts reach space.
Mr Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the agency would continue to honour those whose histories have long been overlooked.
“Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson Nasa Headquarters building,” Mr Bridenstine said in a statement on Wednesday. “It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way’, a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in Nasa’s history who contributed to this agency’s success.”
Ms Carolyn Lewis, Mrs Jackson’s daughter, said she felt honoured to see Nasa continue to celebrate her late mother’s legacy.
“She was a scientist, humanitarian, wife, mother and trailblazer who paved the way for thousands of others to succeed, not only at Nasa, but throughout this nation,” Ms Lewis said in the statement.
Born in Hampton, Virginia, Mrs Jackson graduated from the Hampton Institute, now known as Hampton University, in 1942, after majoring in maths and physical science.
In 1951, she began working at Nasa’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in the then segregated West Area Computing Unit of what is now the Langley Research Centre.
She went on to work with Nasa’s 4×4 supersonic pressure tunnel and became the agency’s first black female engineer in 1958.
Mrs Jackson retired from Nasa in 1985.
Aside from her professional accomplishments, she was known for her dedication to elevating women in scientific fields. She died in 2005.