Honoring NASA scientists this Black History Month

Honoring NASA scientists this Black History Month

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "Hidden Figures" is more than just a box office hit and awards show contender.The movie, which has raked in over $119 million thus far, is lifting the veil on the role of African American female thinkers and explorers in NASA.

Once hidden, but now in the national spotlight for the world to see, "Hidden Figures" tells the incredible stories of black women working behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of John Glenn.

Those woman include Annie Easley, a graduate of Cleveland State University who lived in the area and died in 2011. Easley's 34-year long career with NASA included developing and implementing computer code.

Then there's Dr. Guion Bluford, Jr., the first African American to fly into space. Bluford calls Cleveland home, working out of the NASA Glenn Research Center up until his retirement.

"I grew up with a desire to be an engineer," he said. "I like space crafts and aircrafts and all that kind of stuff."

Bluford has made four trips to space, logging 688 hours. The 74-year-old still works in the aerospace industry and was recently recognized by the Cleveland Cavaliers for Black History Month.

Bluford has a message for kids growing up in the inner-city just like he did: "I tell kids to dream and be willing to do the work, be willing to work hard at it."

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