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Former NASA mathematician, WV native honored

Staff report

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia House of Delegates on Monday declared Aug. 26 will forever be Katherine Johnson Day in West Virginia.

Katherine Moore, daughter of West Virginia-born mathematician Katherine Johnson, stands beside Delegate Jill Upson, R-Jefferson, on the House chamber floor at the West Virginia Capitol as delegates declare Aug. 26 of every year to be Katherine Johnson Day.
(Photo by Sam Owens)

Johnson, a NASA mathematician and White Sulphur Springs native, attended West Virginia State University and later worked at NASA during the Space Race where she calculated trajectories for astronauts journeying into space. She worked on the Mercury and Apollo programs at NASA. Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama.

Johnson recently was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures,” which chronicled the role of African-American women in the early days of the U.S. space program.

Johnson’s daughter, Katherine Moore, appeared on her mother’s behalf Monday morning during the House floor session, where the announcement was made.

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