In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Johnson was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for. As a part of the preflight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl”—Johnson—to run the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine.
"If she says they’re good,’” Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, “then I’m ready to go.” Glenn’s flight was a success, and marked a turning point in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in space. You may have seen a movie that shared her story along with Dorothy Vaughn (Mathematician) and Mary Jackson (Engineer). We are fortunate to also have our Eagle View students attend what is now Katherine Johnson Middle School. I had the privilege of meeting some of the relatives of Katherine Johnson during the naming ceremony.