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Katherine Johnson at NASA Langley Research Center in 1980
Katherine Johnson at NASA Langley Research Center in 1980 (NASA)

Katherine Johnson, one of a group of black women mathematicians at NASA who were depicted in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures died today, Monday in Newport News, Virginia.

Mrs. Johnson, who died at 101 calculated the precise trajectories that would let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and, after Neil Armstrong’s history-making moonwalk, let it return to Earth.

Her story was told in the 2016 Hollywood film “Hidden Figures, which starred Taraji P. Henson as Mrs. Johnson. The film also starred Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as her real-life colleagues Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.

In January 2017 “Hidden Figures” received the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. The film was nominated for three Oscars, including best picture.

Hidden Figures – Trailer

In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2017, NASA dedicated a building in her honor, the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, at its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

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