Nancy Grace Roman, a former NASA executive who is often described as a "mother" of the Hubble Space Telescope, died at the age of 93.
Roman, a longtime employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, was the first woman to hold an executive role at the agency, the Associated Press reported. After earning a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949, Roman joined NASA in 1959 as his first Astronomy Head at the Office of Space Sciences at NASA Headquarters and remained in the role for almost twenty years until his retirement in 1979, according to NASA.
He was involved with innovative programs such as the Cosmic Background Explorer, and like his informal title, the beloved Hubble Space Telescope.
Roman is remembered for his work in strengthening career opportunities for women through the American Association of University Women, the Washington Post reported. Roman is said to have consistently resisted significant barriers throughout his education and career when there were several women in his field, especially at the executive level. He is most often credited with advancing much of the initial development of the Hubble program, especially relating to funding and proposals.
Per the Post, in his book "The Universe in a Mirror," writer and space historian Robert Zimmerman wrote: "During the 1960s and early 1970s no one at NASA was more important in getting the first design and concept for funding Hubble and it's done. "
According to NASA, Roman awards and awards include the Lifetime Achievement Women Award at Aerospace, the NASA Extraordinary Scientific Achievement Award, and the NASA Extraordinary Scientific Leadership Award. Last year, Roman was honored as part of a fan-designed Lego designed to honor NASA women who also included pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison.
Roman died on Tuesday after an ongoing illness. According to the Post, he did not survive the immediate family members.[Associated Press, Washington Post]