NASA names its headquarters after Mary.W.Jackson, agency’s first African-American female engineer

Mary.W.Jackson was an aerospace engineer and a mathematician who was part of a group of very important women who had NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space.

Created On: Jun 27, 2020 14:29 IST
NASA names its headquarters after Mary Jackson
NASA names its headquarters after Mary Jackson

NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine announced on June 24 that the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C. will be named after Mary.W. Jackson, NASA’s first African-American female engineer.

In an announcement, Jim Bridenstine mentioned that Mary.W.jackson was part of a group of very important women who had NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. She was an aerospace engineer and a mathematician who led programs that aimed at uplifting women within NASA.

As per NASA, Mary.W.Jackson began her career with the agency at the segregated West Area Computing Unit of NASA’s Langley Research Centre in Hamptons, Virginia. She also inspired the story behind the non-fiction book and film ‘Hidden Figures’.

NASA on naming the agency’s headquarters after Mary.W.Jackson:

Jim Bridenstine while announcing the news mentioned that Mary never accepted the status quo. She helped in breaking the barriers and open opportunities for women and African Americans in the field of engineering or technology.

He added that hidden no more, NASA will continue to recognize the contributions of African Americans, women, and people of all the backgrounds who have helped in constructing NASA’s successful history to explore.

Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures book and the movie:

The 2016 non-fiction book ‘Hidden Figures’ is an autobiographical text that follows the lives of three mathematicians Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan who worked as computers (job description) at NASA, during the space race.

The book later inspired the American biographical drama film of the same name which bought the contribution of African American females to an early spaceflight in the mainstream media.

President Donald Trump in November 2019 signed into law the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act. Mary Jackson, along with her African American Colleagues Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden were awarded congressional gold medals. Jackson and Vaughan who passed away were awarded posthumously.

About Mary.W.Jackson:

Mary.W.jackson was born on April 9, 1921, in Virginia, United States. She was an aerospace engineer and an American mathematician at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which was succeeded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958.

Mary Jackson took advanced engineering classes and in 1958 she became NASA’s first black female engineer. She began her career at NASA with the segregated West Area Computing Unit of NASA’s Langley Research Centre.

After working for 34 years in NASA, she earned the most senior engineering title available but realized that she could earn further promotions without becoming a supervisor.

Jackson accepted a demotion in order to become a manager of both the Affirmative Action Program and the Federal women’s program, which was in NASA Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. In this role, Jackson worked to influence the promotion and hiring of women in NASA’s engineering, science, and mathematics career.

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