NASA names headquarters after ‘Hidden Figures’ engineer Mary Jackson

NASA’s headquarters has a new name, one that honors ‘Hidden Figures engineer Mary Jackson.


In a naming ceremony on Friday, February 26th, NASA said Jackson “overcame the barriers of segregation and gender bias to become a professional aerospace engineer and leader in ensuring equal opportunities for future generations.”

Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA, began her career with the agency in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The mathematician and aerospace engineer went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. In 2019, she posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal.

The work of Jackson and others in the West Area Computing Unit caught widespread national attention in the 2016 Margot Lee Shetterly book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” The book was made into a popular movie that same year, and award-winning actress Janelle Monáe portrayed Jackson.