Katherine Johnson, the pioneering NASA mathematician whose manual calculations allowed the first American astronaut to land on the moon in 1969 and inspired the film Hidden Figures, has died aged 101.
NASA confirmed Johnson’s passing in a tweet on Monday morning.
‘Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers,’ the tweet read.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine praised Johnson as ‘an American hero’ whose ‘pioneering legacy will never be forgotten’.
Johnson is remembered as a trailblazer who helped America dominate aeronautics, space research, and computer technology over her 33 years with the agency.
She was hired by NASA in 1953 and joined Project Mercury, the nation’s first human space program, a few years later as one of the so-called ‘computers’ who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand, using a pencil and slide rule.
Read more: daily mail