Mathematician Katherine Johnson at work
NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson is photographed at her desk at Langley Research Center in 1966. Johnson made critical technical contributions during her career of 33 years, which included calculating the trajectory of the 1961 flight of Alan Shepard. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 24, 2015. Johnson began her career in 1953 at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the agency that preceded NASA. One of a number of African-American women hired to work as "computers" in what was then the Guidance and Navigation Department. She was the only woman at the time to be pulled from the computing pool to work with engineers on other programs. UPI
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