Katherine Johnson the NASA mathematician who helped launch the first American into orbit around the earth has died aged 101.
Ms Johnson’s role in calculating the trajectories that would allow Apollo 11 missions to land safely on the moon in 1969 was chronicled in the book and award winning 2016 film “Hidden Figures.” Our office computed all the (rocket) trajectories,' Johnson told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 2012. 'You tell me when and where you want it to come down, and I will tell you where and when and how to launch it.' In 1962, she manually verified calculations by a nascent NASA computer for astronaut John Glenn's groundbreaking orbital mission as the US beat the Soviet Union (USSR) in the Space Race. “Get the girl to check the numbers,” a computer-skeptical Glenn had insisted in the days before the launch. Seven years later Johnson calculated the precise trajectories that allowed the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon in 1969.
Johnson and her black colleagues had been relatively unsung heroes of America's Space Race until 2015, when President Barack Obama awarded Johnson - then 97 - the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. NASA honored her with the Katherine Johnson Computational Research Facility in Hampton the same year.
A remarkable woman, human being and huge inspiration. #katherinejohnson #mathematician #katherinejohnson🚀 #hiddenfigures #hiddenfigures🚀 #hiddenfiguresmovie #spacegirl #nasa #nasaheroesandlegends #katherinejohnsontribute #spacerace #katherinejohnsonismyhero #nasahero