Katherine Johnson was a former computer who joined NASA. She was there when Sputnik went up, and she got pulled into the teams that calculated trajectories. She's an African American woman, and she's 97 years old now. She calculated the trajectories for Alan Shepard. John Glenn wouldn't even fly until Katherine double-checked the math! She stayed up like 12 hours recalculating, and if she got the right number, he would say "Okay, Katherine agrees, I'm going." She was one of the trajectory calculators of the Apollo mission, but she's not in the Apollo 13 movie.It would have been a great bit in a movie.
Links from Googling:
- stuff on the NASA website. e.g. For educators
- For younger kids.