Fact of the Day

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918) is an African-American mathematician who made contributions to the United Statesaeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, she conducted technical work at NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), spanning 35 years. During this time, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights from Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of Alan Shepard and John Glenn, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program.[1][2][3] Her calculations were critical to the success of these missions.[1] Johnson also performed calculations for the plans for a mission to Mars.

In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[4] She was included in the BBC series 100 Women the following year.[5]

Categories: Good to Know

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