NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Retiring NASA Administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden Jr. says going to space might not have been possible without the help of the three black women who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in NASA history.
Hidden Figures, which tells the story of those three women – Kathrine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) , opened in theaters last Friday and topped the box office across the country.
Bolden, Jr. saw the film and read the book on which it was based. In an interview with WGNO-News with a Twist, he said he believes NASA wouldn’t be what it is today without these women.
“The major way they changed NASA was that they made it possible for us to get to space to do orbital flight,” Bolden said.
Ironically, Bolden, who is the first African-American to lead NASA, had never heard of some of the women that changed history.
“I was on hand last year when President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Kathryn Johnson. I had never heard of Kathryn Johnson until I was preparing to be the speaker for Western State University,” Bolden said.
January is the last month for Bolden to serve as the administrator in office before he retires. The new administrator for NASA will be Former U.S. Air Force member Christopher Shank.