Press Release

NASA Invites Media to Renaming Ceremony for West Virginia Facility

By SpaceRef Editor
June 21, 2019
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Media are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday, July 2, celebrating the renaming of NASA’s Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, after the West Virginia native and storied NASA icon.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. Representative David McKinley and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine are among the dignitaries presiding over the ceremony along with Johnson’s daughters, Joylette and Katherine.

The ceremony will be followed by a reception featuring a number of keynote speakers and a special presentation to Johnson’s daughters. To cover the ceremony and reception, media must email their name, affiliation and telephone number to Jeremy Eggers at by 4 p.m. Friday, June 28.

The IV&V facility, originally founded in 1993 to contribute to the safety and success of NASA’s highest-profile missions, was renamed in Johnson’s honor as a result of legislation sponsored by Capito and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, and signed into law by President Trump in December 2018. The renaming was announced earlier this year and culminates with the July 2 ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“NASA’s Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility is going to play a key role in safely landing the first woman and the next man and on the Moon’s South Pole by 2024,” said Gregory Blaney, IV&V program director. “Katherine, who helped get us to the Moon in the early days of human spaceflight, will be an enduring beacon of inspiration as we strive to meet the challenge of establishing a sustained presence at the Moon as a way to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.”

Born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, in 1918, Johnson’s intense curiosity and brilliance with numbers led her to a distinguished career spanning more than three decades with NASA and its predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Among her professional accomplishments, Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission in 1961. The following year, Johnson performed the work for which she would become best known, when she was asked to verify the results made by electronic computers to calculate the orbit for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission. She went on to provide calculations for NASA missions throughout her career, including several Apollo missions.

Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 and, in 2017, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, dedicated the new Katherine Johnson Computational Research Facility in her honor. Johnson celebrated her 100th birthday Aug. 26, 2018.

Since its inception more than 25 years ago, NASA’s IV&V Program has performed work on approximately 100 missions and projects, and currently is providing services to 12 upcoming NASA missions, including the James Webb Space TelescopeOrion spacecraft Space Launch System rocket, and InSight Mars lander. IV&V also provides general software safety and mission assurance services, including support for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

SpaceRef staff editor.