Home » Science » Astronomy » When NASA used electronic computers for the first time – to calculate John Glenn’s orbit around Earth – officials called on Katherine Johnson to verify the computer’s numbers; Glenn had asked for her specifically and had refused to fly unless Johnson verified the calculations.

When NASA used electronic computers for the first time – to calculate John Glenn’s orbit around Earth – officials called on Katherine Johnson to verify the computer’s numbers; Glenn had asked for her specifically and had refused to fly unless Johnson verified the calculations.

Katherine Johnson: Hidden Figures Nasa mathematician dies at 101

Reuters

Pioneering African-American Nasa mathematician Katherine Johnson has died at the age of 101.

Nasa announced her death on Twitter, saying it was celebrating her life and honouring “her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers”.

Ms Johnson calculated rocket trajectories and Earth orbits for Nasa’s early space missions.

She was portrayed in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

The film tells the story of African-American women whose maths skills helped put US astronaut John Glenn into orbit around the Earth in 1962. Ms Johnson verified the calculations made by new electronic computers before his flight.

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