Ms. Johnson

In the early 1960’s, employed by the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center, and before computers were universally trusted, Ms. Katherine Johnson played a critical role in the early success of NASA in the realm of space travel by hand calculating the orbital trajectories on which the lives of its astronauts depended.
Famously in 1962, prior to the launch of Mercury-Atlas 6, uncomfortable with his life in the hands of a computer, astronaut John Glenn, having previously witnessed the power of her confidence and intellect, requested that Katherine Johnson, and only Katherine Johnson double-check the orbital calculation results of NASA’s new super-computer before agreeing to launch.

This kind of ability is always impressive, but also somewhat prevalent in that there is no shortage of incredibly smart and talented people on our planet.
But it’s those with the combination of ability and confidence that make history, are exceedingly rare, and never fail to inspire me ; and certainly no more so than Ms. Johnson.
My admiration for the abilities and courage of this American Hero is immeasurable.

-BD

Ms. Katherine Johnson at NASA – 1966
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