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Mathmatician Mary Jackson, the first Black woman engineer at NASA poses for a photo at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1977 in Hampton, Va. Photo: Bob Nye/NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

NASA will rename its headquarters in Washington, D.C., after Mary Jackson, the agency's first Black female engineer, administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Jackson was among the significant figures in NASA's history, serving in the computing unit during the space race while it was still segregated. Jackson — along with three other Black women, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden and Dorothy Vaughan — was depicted in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures."

  • NASA renamed the street in front of its headquarters building "'Hidden Figures Way" in 2019 to commemorate the trio's achievements.

What he's saying:

“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology.”
“Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have helped construct NASA’s successful history to explore.”
— Jim Bridenstine in a news release

Go deeper

Updated Sep 28, 2020 - Health

Texas governor declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba found in city's water

Characteristics associated with a case of amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri parasites. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County Sunday amid concerns that the water supply may contain the brain-eating amoeba naegleria fowleri.

Driving the news: Lake Jackson issued a separate disaster declaration Saturday and a "Boil Water Notice" is in place for the city following the death of a 6-year-old boy on Sept. 8

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.