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NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

Katherine Johnson was a very talented African American mathematician. After she graduated from college at age 18, she worked as a teacher before joining NASA. Johnson was known for making careful and accurate calculations, and became known as “the computer.” She was responsible for analyzing the flight trajectory of the Freedom 7 mission, which sent the first American into space!

Even after NASA started using computers to perform complex calculations, astronaut John Glenn was skeptical. Before his Friendship 7 launch, Glenn requested that Johnson check and confirm the calculations made by the computer. Glenn said, “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”

Download and print this Katherine Johnson page here.

Want to learn more about Katherine Johnson? Take a look at NASA’s “Who Was Katherine Johnson” page to read more about her extraordinary life.

Featured photo credit: NASA/David C. Bowman