"Hidden Figures" subject & NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, lived a full 101 years.
Katherine Johnson, one of the NASA mathematicians responsible for America's first mission to space and the first landing on the moon, has passed away at the age of 101 today (Feb. 24). Johnson's role in making space history was portrayed by none other Taraji P. Henson in the Oscar-nominated 2016 film, Hidden Figures. The film was inspired by the nonfiction novel of the same name.
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Born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in 1918, Katherine Johnson attended high school on the historically black West Virginia State College campus at the tender age of just 13-years-old. In 1937, Johnson graduated from the actual university, the prodigy became a teacher at a black public school in Virginia. It wasn't until years later that Katherine Johnson joined the Maneuver Loads Branch of the Flight Research Division at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)'s Langley laboratory where she would make universal history.
Johnson co-authored the Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position report with NASA in 1960. Her work on the report made her the first woman in the Flight Research Division to receive an author credit for her efforts. In 1962, Johnson was called upon to assist John Glenn with the Friendship 7 mission.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine released a statement Monday about the death of Katherine Johnson, stating:
"NASA is deeply saddened by the loss of a leader from our pioneering days, and we send our deepest condolences to the family of Katherine Johnson. Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space."
There aren't too many people on the face of the planet that have accomplished what Katherine Johnson was able to accomplish. Her light, brilliant mind, patience, and understanding has changed how modern humans will approach the universe forever. Check out NASA's video tribute to Katherine Johnson in the video provided below.