The life of Katherine Johnson
She was known as the "human computer," was responsible for calculating the trajectory of Apollo 11 to space, and was an inspiration behind the film "Hidden Figures." This is the story of Katherine Johnson, the NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration legend who died today at 101 years.
An American hero who will inspire generations to come
“Like what you do, then you will do your best.”, Katherine Johnson once said.
At 14, she received her high school diploma. Shortly after at the age of 18, she received her mathematics degree. When she was 34 years old, she saw an ad for a job in the newspaper. NASA was looking to hire female engineers for its segregated computing section. She joined the agency and analyzed airplane black boxes after crashes. She was nicknamed the “human computer”.
Her accomplishments at NASA
At 43, she calculated the trajectory of the first American space mission. She worked with 2 other African American women: Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. At 51, she calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon. At 68, she retired from NASA. When asked about her time working at NASA, she answered, “I never missed a day, never stayed home playing sick and stuff. But my problem was to answer questions, and I did that to the best of my ability at all times.”
Recognizing her success
At 97, President Barack Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At 98, she was on the Oscars stage next to the 3 actresses from Hidden Figures. The film was based on the historic book titled Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race which was released in 2016. The movie depicted her and her colleagues’ controversial journey through NASA. At 99, Johnson attended the inauguration of the building that bears her name which is a computer research center at NASA. On February 24, 2020, Katherine Johnson dies at 101 years old. She will be remembered as an icon and role model for girls around the world.