(Katherine Johnson the human-computer)
Katherine Johnson, one of the human calculators who were very influential in America’s first space expedition has passed on at the age of 101 years.
Her death was announced on twitter by NASA that Katherine Johnson’s life is worth celebrating and are honouring her for an excellent legacy that defied racial and social frontiers.
Ms. Johnson was a NASA mathematician responsible for calculating rocket trajectories and earth orbits for NASA’s early space mission.
A life story and her reputation in NASA were featured in the oscar-nominated Africa-American women movie “Hidden Figures”.
In 1918 Katherine Johnson was born in a small town in West Virginia. She believes she was very fascinated with numbers at a younger age.
She graduated from high school at 14 and the university at 18 at an era where education among black communities was very low, an impressive academic achievement which influenced NASA to recruit her in 1953 in their National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
Johnson together with her fellow black female colleagues at NASA was labeled “human computer” as they were responsible for calculating rocket trajectories and earth orbits.
During an era of space competition between American and the former Soviet Union, Africa-American workers at NASA were subjected to racist competition as they were made to used different facilities from their fellow white colleagues.
Ms. Johnson is most noticed for her help during the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon when US astronaut John Glenn had asked for her specifically and refused to fly unless she verified the calculations because she had previously calculated the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard – the first American in space.
She was honoured with Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by former US President Barack Obama.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine described Ms. Johnson as an astute leader from the early days of NASA.
Her commitment and skills contributed immensely to making it possible for humans to be put on the moon. Before that, her work made it possible for NASA for the first time encourages astronauts to visit the space that is being followed to date to visit the mars for studies.