Meeting Information

Meeting Host:
District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium - Contact

Meeting Chair:
Dr. Stephen Ruffin (Georgia Space Grant Consortium) - Contact


The Westin Crystal City Hotel
1800 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

Hotel Room Reservations

Our discounted group rate expired on January 31, 2017.

Hotel Webite:
Westin Crystal City Hotel Website

Thursday, March 2 - Saturday, March 4, 2017

Agenda PDF Draft Version (Rev. F)



Payment Types Accepted: Check, Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, and Discover
The meeting registration fee is: $495.00
Deadline to register is: February 23, 2017
Payment is due by no later than February 23, 2017
Late registration fee (after February 23, 2017): $595.00
NO refunds for cancellations or changes after February 23, 2017
Proceed to Registration Form

From BWI - Baltimore Washington International Airport
Take I-195 West. At exit 2B, take ramp right for SR-295 South / Baltimore Washington Pkwy South toward Washington. Take ramp right for US-50 West / New York Ave toward Washington. Turn left onto I-395 South. At exit 8C, take ramp left for US-1 South / Jefferson Davis Hwy toward Pentagon City / Alexandria / Crystal City. Arrive at US-1 South / Jefferson Davis Hwy on the right.

From DCA - Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Depart S Smith Blvd. Take ramp right and follow signs for George Washington Memorial Pkwy North / GW Pkwy North. Take ramp right for I-395 South / US-1 South / Henry G Shirley Memorial Hwy toward Richmond. At exit 8C, take ramp left for US-1 South / Jefferson Davis Hwy toward Pentagon City / Alexandria / Crystal City. Arrive at US-1 South / Jefferson Davis Hwy on the right.

From IAD - Dulles Airport
Depart Saarinen Circle toward Copilot Way. Bear right onto Copilot Way.Turn right onto Cargo Dr.Road name changes to Aviation Dr.Take ramp left for Dulles Airport Access Rd toward Washington. Take ramp right for SR-267 East / Dulles Toll Rd toward Richmond / Baltimore / Exit 18-19. At exit 19B, take ramp right for SR-123 North / Dolley Madison Blvd toward McLean.Take ramp right and follow signs for George Washington Memorial Pkwy South / GW Pkwy South. Take ramp right for I-395 South / US-1 South / Henry G Shirley Memorial Hwy toward Richmond. At exit 8C, take ramp left for US-1 South / Jefferson Davis Hwy toward Pentagon City / Alexandria / Crystal City. Arrive at US-1 South / Jefferson Davis Hwy on the right.

Metro Directions from Reagan National Airport

Take the Yellow Line in the direction of Mount Vernon Square.

Crystal City (first stop). Exit Metro Station, turn left, walk 100 feet, turn right, walk under overpass, hotel is on left.

Nearby Restaurants
For a complete listing of all 83 nearby restaurants, click here

Restaurant Website Cuisine Price
Athena Pallas
Visit Greek, European and Mediterranean
Bonsai Sushi Visit Japanese $$$
Cantana Mexicana Visit Mexican $$
Charlie Chiangs Visit Chinese $$
Crystal City Sports Pub Visit Pub food, Steakhouse, Burgers $$
Harar Mesob Visit Ethiopian $$
Jeleo Visit Tapas, Spanish and Wine Bar $$$$
King Street Blues Visit Southern/BBQ $$
Lebanese Taverna Visit Middle Eastern and Mediterranean $$
Legal Sea Foods Visit Seafood, American $$$
Ruth's Chris Visit Steak House $$$$
Top Thai Visit Thai $$

:: Video Clips

Hidden Figures Movie Trailer

Megaplanet Artist Josh Simpson


Katherine Johnson

The NASA Space Grant community is pleased to announce that  Katherine Johnson has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award.

Mary Sandy, Director of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, presented  the Megaplanet award to Dr. Johnson at her home in Virginia on January 17th.  This event was filmed and will be shown during the award ceremony.
Johnson's daughters, Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore, will participate in the award ceremony. 

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson
(born August 26, 1918) is a physicist and mathematician who made contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, her technical work at NASA spanned decades during which she participated in calculating the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights from Project Mercury including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program and even early plans for the Mission to Mars.

Johnson was born in 1918, to Joshua and Joylette Coleman in White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. She was the youngest of four children.  Her father worked as a lumberman, a farmer, a handyman, and at the Greenbrier Hotel. Her mother was a former teacher.  Early on, Johnson showed a talent for math. Her parents emphasized the importance of education. Because Greenbrier County did not offer schooling for African-American students past the eighth grade, the Coleman children attended high school in Institute, Kanawha County, West Virginia. The family split their time between Institute during the school year and White Sulphur Springs in the summer.

Johnson graduated from high school at age 14. At age 15, she began attending West Virginia State College. As a student, Johnson took every math course the college offered. Multiple professors took Johnson under their wings, including chemist and mathematician Angie Turner King, who had also mentored Johnson throughout high school, and W.W. Schiefflin Claytor, the third African American to receive a PhD in math. Claytor added new math courses just for Johnson. She graduated summa cum laude in 1937, with degrees in math and French, at age 18. After graduation, Johnson moved to Marion, Virginia, to teach math, French, and music at a small grade school.

In 1938, Johnson became the first African-American woman to desegregate the graduate school at West Virginia University in Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia. She was one of three African-American students, and the only female, selected to integrate the graduate school after the United States Supreme Court ruling Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada.

Johnson decided on a career in mathematics with interest in being a research mathematician, a path with many closed doors for African-American women at the time. The first jobs she could find were in teaching. At a family gathering, a relative mentioned that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), later to become NASA, was looking for new people. They were recently open to hiring African-American women for their Guidance and Navigation Department. Johnson was offered a job in 1953, and she immediately accepted and became part of the early NASA team.

According to an oral history archived by the National Visionary Leadership Project:

At first she worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual 'computers who wore skirts.' Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine's knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that, "they forgot to return me to the pool." While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before.) She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged.

From 1953 through 1958, Johnson worked as a "computer", doing analysis for topics such as gust alleviation for aircraft. Originally assigned to the West Area Computers section which was supervised by mathematician Dorothy Vaughan, she was reassigned to the Guidance and Control Division of Langley's Flight Research Division. However, Johnson and other African-American women in the computing pool were also identified as "colored computers" and subject to workplace segregation, working, eating and using restrooms apart from their white peers until the colored computing pool was disbanded in 1958.

From 1958 until she retired in 1986, she worked as an aerospace technologist, moving during her career to the Spacecraft Controls Branch. She calculated the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space, in 1959. She also calculated the launch window for his 1961 Mercury mission. She plotted backup navigational charts for astronauts in case of electronic failures.[citation needed] In 1962, when NASA used electronic computers for the first time to calculate John Glenn's orbit around Earth, officials called on her to verify the computer's numbers because Glenn asked for her personally and refused to fly unless Katherine verified the calculations. Johnson later worked directly with digital computers. Her ability and reputation for accuracy helped to establish confidence in the new technology. She calculated the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. During the moon landing, Johnson was at a meeting in the Pocono Mountains. She and a few others crowded around a small television screen watching the first steps on the moon. In 1970, Johnson worked on Apollo 13's mission to the Moon. Once the mission was aborted, Johnson's work on backup procedures and charts helped safely return the crew to Earth four days later. Later in her career, she worked on the Space Shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite, and on plans for a mission to Mars.

Johnson co-authored 26 scientific papers. NASA maintains a list of Johnson's most significant articles with links to its archival search tool to find others.

Johnson's social impact as a pioneer in space science and computing may be seen both from the honors she has received and the number of times her story is presented as a role model.

Since 1979 (before she retired from NASA), Johnson's biography has had an honored place in lists of African-Americans in science and technology.

On November 16, 2015, President Barack Obama included Johnson on a list of 17 Americans to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. She was presented with the award on November 24, 2015, cited as a pioneering example of African-American women in STEM.

On May 5, 2016, the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility was formally dedicated at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. This occurred on the 55th anniversary of Alan Shepard's historic rocket launch and splash down, which Johnson helped make possible.

Johnson was included in the list of "BBC 100 Women," a list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the globe.

In a 2016 episode of the NBC series Timeless titled "Space Race", she is portrayed by Nadine Ellis.

In December 2016 the film Hidden Figures (see movie trailer on left), about Johnson and her black colleagues at NASA and based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, was released. Taraji P. Henson plays Johnson in the movie.


We are delighted that former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman will speak at the event.  She will be joined by her husband, renowned glass artist, Josh Simpson, creator of the Megaplanet award.  

To purchase individual tickets, or to sponsor a table of 8, please contact our event host, Eric Day, at:

About the National Space Grant  Distinguished Service Award
The National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award was established to recognize individuals whose life and career have had a long lasting impact in a science, engineering or education field that is related to aeronautic, aviation, or space endeavors. The inaugural award was presented in 2003 to former Senator and Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd M. Bentsen for his visionary work in creating the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Act.

Past Recipients of the National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award
Lloyd Bentsen, James Van Allen, Peter Diamandis, John Glenn, John Young,
Leon Lederman, Vera Rubin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sally Ride, Julius Dasch, Ellen Ochoa, and Bill Nye.