Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her "historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist". Johnson's work included calculating trajectories, launch windows, and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those for astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezvous paths for the Apollo Lunar Module and command module on flights to the Moon. Her calculations were also essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars.
|Born:||Creola Katherine Coleman, August 26, 1918, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, U.S.|
|Died:||February 24, 2020, Newport News, Virginia, U.S.|
|Other names:||Katherine Goble|
|Alma mater:||West Virginia State College|
|Employer:||NACA, NASA 1953–1988|
|Known for:||Calculating trajectories for NASA missions|
|Awards:||Presidential Medal of Freedom (2015), Silver Snoopy award (2016), NASA Group Achievement Award (2016), Congressional Gold Medal (2019)|
|IMDb:||Katherine Johnson's IMDb|
About Katherine Johnson
Renowned physicist and mathematician most famous for her work with NASA. She is considered a pioneer for African-American women in the scientific community.
She attended West Virginia State University, where a course in analytic geometry was created specifically for her.
She is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors, including the NASA Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft and Operations Team Award for her work on the famed Apollo program.
She married James Francis Goble in 1939. They had three daughters together.
She assisted in the 1959 flight of astronaut Alan Shepard in which he became the first American to enter outer space.
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