NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose calculations helped get the first Americans to space and come back safely, died today at the age of 101.
Katherine popularly known as ‘ human-computer’ overcame racial and gender-based discrimination to become an integral part of Nasa’s work in space exploration as her calculations helped put the first man on the Moon in 1969.
Johnson and a colleague were the first to calculate the parameters of the suborbital 1961 flight of astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space.
Her math talents had helped determine the trajectory of the Apollo 11 flight that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon in July 1969.
She was however little known until the Oscar-nominated 2016 movie’ Hidden figures‘ that told the stories of three black women who worked at NASA.