During her time at NASA, Katherine Johnson became a vital part of the Space Task Group, where she performed complex calculations related to orbital mechanics. Her work was instrumental in the success of the first U.S. crewed spaceflight, with her precise calculations ensuring the trajectory of Alan Shepard’s historic flight in 1961. Her most renowned contribution came during John Glenn’s historic orbit around the Earth in 1962.

Katherine Johnson’s calculations provided the critical data necessary for the mission’s success, allowing Glenn to trust her calculations over the automated systems, famously stating, “Get the girl to check the numbers.” Her calculations were flawless, and Glenn’s safe return is a testament to her expertise and dedication.

Katherine Johnson’s pioneering spirit extended beyond her groundbreaking calculations. She shattered racial and gender barriers in the male-dominated field of aerospace engineering. She paved the way for future generations of women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM.

Her incredible journey reminds us that intelligence, determination, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge know no bounds. Celebrating Black History Month, we honor Katherine Johnson’s legacy and impact on space exploration and civil rights.

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