Science 24 Feb 2020 Katherine Johnson, N ...

Katherine Johnson, NASA’s pioneering mathematician dies at 101

AP
Published Feb 24, 2020, 9:30 pm IST
Updated Feb 24, 2020, 9:30 pm IST
She was a pioneering female aerospace worker whose life was celebrated in the film Hidden Figures
In this February 26, 2017 file photo, Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the film Hidden Figures, poses in the press room at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Johnson, a mathematician on early space missions who was portrayed in film about pioneering black female aerospace workers, died Monday, February 24, 2020. (AP)
 In this February 26, 2017 file photo, Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the film Hidden Figures, poses in the press room at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Johnson, a mathematician on early space missions who was portrayed in film about pioneering black female aerospace workers, died Monday, February 24, 2020. (AP)

Hampton (Virgina): NASA says Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who worked on the early space missions and was portrayed in the film Hidden Figures,' about pioneering black female aerospace workers, has died.

In a Monday morning tweet, the space agency said it celebrates her 101 years of life and her legacy of excellence and breaking down racial and social barriers.

 

Johnson was one of the so-called “computers'' who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand during NASA's early years.

Until 1958, Johnson and other black women worked in a racially segregated computing unit at what is now called Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Their work was the focus of the Oscar-nominated 2016 film.

In 1961, Johnson worked on the first mission to carry an American into space. In 1962, she verified computer calculations that plotted John Glenn's earth orbits.

At age 97, Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honour.

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