HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) — An American treasure is being honored in Hampton. A new facility at the NASA Langley Research Center is named after Katherine Johnson. She’s the woman featured in the movie “Hidden Figures” for her inspiring work at NASA Langley. People knew the mathematician as a “human computer” who calculated America’s first space flights in the 1960s. “I liked what I was doing, I liked work,” said Katherine.
The 99-year-old worked for NASA at a time when it was extremely difficult for African-Americans — especially women — to get jobs in the science field. “My problem was to answer questions, and I did that to the best of my ability at all time,” said Katherine. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. She said, “I was excited for something new. Always liked something new.” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia GovernorTerry McAuliffe, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, and “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly were among the dignitaries who were on hand to honor Johnson.
Governor McAuliffe said, “Thank goodness for the movie and the book that actually came out and people got to understand what this woman meant to our county. I mean she really broke down the barriers.” The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) is a $23 million, 37,000-square-foot energy efficient structure that consolidates five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. One NASA astronaut, Doctor Yvonne Cagle, said Katherine is the reason she is an astronaut today. “This is remarkable, I mean it really shows that when you make substantive contributions like this, that resonate both on and off the planet. There’s no time like the present.” Doctor Cagle said she’s excited the new building is named after Katherine. “Thank you all, thank everyone for recognizing and bringing to light this beautiful hidden figure,” said Cagle.
The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis. Much of the work now done by wind tunnels eventually will be performed by computers like those at the CRF. NASA Deputy Director of Center Operations, Erik Weiser said, this new facility will help them with their anticipated Mars landing in 2020.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe condemned the white supremacists whose rally in Charlottesville, Va. led to clashes and at least one death, telling the Nazi marchers that “there is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America… Shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot,” he said.
McAuliffe appeared at a press conference in Charlottesville in the aftermath of the bloody confrontations on the street. Earlier in the day, he declared a state of emergency to assist authorities in the city in controlling the situation. Police said that a 32-year-old woman was killed as she was crossing the street and a car was driven into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. The driver of the vehicle has been apprehended and the case is being treated as a criminal homicide, with 19 more injured in the incident. Police have not released the name of the victim or the suspect.
State police also are investigating a helicopter crash that occurred in a wooded area near Charlottesville that occurred just before 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. A spokeswoman confirmed that two people were killed in the crash, but did not verify if the helicopter belonged to the Virginia State Police. Throughout the day, cable news networks played shocking and even chilling images of neo-Nazis and white nationalists marching in the streets of Charlottesville as they were protesting plans to remove a statute of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. They quickly clashed with counter-protesters before police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered them to disburse.
McAuliffe said that he spoke with Trump on Saturday and twice told him that “there has got to be a movement in this country to bring people together. The hatred and the rhetoric that has gone on and it’s intensified over the last couple of months is dividing this great nation.” Trump, too, responded with tweets and a statement calling for unity, and condemning “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
But he faced criticism for not specifically calling out the white supremacists or citing the car crash. Some members of Trump’s own party called on the President to specifically cite the Charlottesville tragedy as a terror attack, or to call out white nationalists.
“As [South Carolina] Governor Haley said yesterday, her state can ill afford to let this symbol continue to divide the people of South Carolina. I believe the same is true here in Virginia. Although the battle flag is not flown here on Capitol Square, it has been the subject of considerable controversy, and it divides many of our people,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said. “Even its display on state issued license tags is, in my view, unnecessarily divisive and hurtful to too many of our people. As you all know, I have spent the past 17 months working to build a new Virginia economy that is more open and welcoming to everyone. Removing this symbol from our state-issued license plates will be another step toward realizing that goal.”