NASA unveils Hidden Figures Way to honour black women who helped reach the moon

NASA has renamed a street in front of its Washington headquarters for the black women who were instrumental to sending American astronauts to the moon.

The 3 women were the subject of a 2016 book and Oscar-nominated movie

Katherine Johnson, one of the women who inspired the film Hidden Figures, poses in the press room at the Oscars in February 2017. NASA has renamed a street in the women's honour in Washington. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press)

The street outside of NASA's headquarters has been renamed Hidden Figures Way to honour the black women who served as "human computers" in the effort to send humans to the moon.

The work of three mathematicians — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the 1960s was captured in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

"When little girls and little boys come to see NASA, they're going to look up and see that sign," said Sen. Ted Cruz, who cosponsored a bill to rename the block, at a ceremony where officials unveiled the new street signs.

Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly and the families of Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson also attended.

Shetterly's 2016 book details the women's struggles as they crunched numbers at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., in the pre-computer age. Johnson is now 100 and is the last of the three still living.

July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk by NASA astronauts, one of 11 flights in the Apollo space program of the 1960s and '70s, named after the Greek sun god.

NASA announced in May that it plans to land Americans back on the moon by 2024 with the Artemis initiative, named after Apollo's twin sister who was goddess of the hunt and the moon.

For the first time, a female astronaut will walk on the moon, NASA said.

With files from Reuters