Katherine Johnson's NASA contributions helped reach the modern era.
Katherine Johnson, an African- American physicist, mathematician and space scientist has contributed a lot to NASA as it reached the modern era through her knowledge and skills with the application of digital electronic computers in the earlier times. Johnson started to work with the NASA's predecessor, which was formerly known as National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or NACA on 1953 in the Guidance and Control Branch.
She started to work in the said branch as one of the many women who would do calculations that engineers needed to be verified. As Katherine Johnson started to work, her curious mind also started to raise questions. Johnson was not just there to work but also to learn, unlike other women who didn't raised questions.
"They didn't ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there" Johnson said.
Johnson who loves Math ever since she was a child joined the Spacecraft Controls Branch as NACA became NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958. She joined the team wherein she calculated the flight trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American to go in space in 1959 and that of the Apollo 11's flight to the moon on 1969. She also verified the Mathematics behind John Glenn's orbit around the earth in 1962.
Katherine Johnson received many prestigious awards during her tenure in NASA. Among them were NASA Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft and Operations team award, five NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement Awards and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from State University of New York.
She retired from NASA on 1986 after her 33 years in service. Today, Katherine Johnson, 95, is enjoying her retirement with her family but still keeps in touch with the NASA employees most especially when the agency needs her help.
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