Katherine Johnson

Mathematician & One of the First African-American Women to Work as a NASA Scientist

Katherine Johnson started college when she was just 15 years old. While she was in college she studied to be a mathematician. She attended  graduate school at West Virginia University, and was the first Black woman to do so. 

In 1953, Katherine Johnson began working at NASA. Johnson calculated the path for a spacecraft called The Freedom 7. That was the spacecraft that put the first U.S. astronaut into space, whose name was Alan B. Shepard. During her career, Katherine Johnson wrote or helped to write 26 reports about math and about space. In 1969, she helped make history again when she helped to conquer another space mission that landed the Apollo 11 ship safely on the moon.

Johnson retired this year after 33 years of service, and in 2016, a building at NASA was named after her.

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