Katherine Johnson, one of the NASA mathematicians that are depicted in “Hidden Figures” has lost her life on Monday, aged 101.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Twitter that Johnson was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten.
The Oscar-nominated 2016 movie “Hidden Figures” portrayed Johnson in the story about trailblazing black women whose work at NASA was integral during the Space Race, and Johnson was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson. The movie also featured mathematician Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer, and engineer Mary Jackson played by Janelle Monae.
Johnson first began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NASA’s predecessor, back in 1953, and she did trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s 1961 mission named Freedom 7 – America’s first human spaceflight.
Johnson was also the first woman in the Flight Research Division to be credited as an author of a research report for her work with Ted Skopinski.
However, she was best-known for her work that greatly contributed to the first American orbital spaceflight by John Glenn.
According to NASA, when asked to name her greatest contribution to space exploration, Katherine Johnson talked about the calculations that helped synch Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module.