Thursday, February 20, 2020

On This Day In History

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth in 1962.

And of course this great scene from The Right Stuff.

And his relationship with Katherine Johnson.

"Get the girl to check the numbers."

With those seven words, spoken by astronaut John Glenn before he became the first American to orbit Earth in 1962, Katherine Johnson's role in history changed.

A "human computer" assigned to NASA's Flight Research Division at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, Johnson was the African-American, then-44-year-old "girl" who was the subject of the Astronaut's directive.. As such, she set about double checking the trajectory calculated by her electronic counterpart: room-size IBM 7090 computers at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"If she says the numbers are good, I am ready to go," said Glenn, according to Margot Lee Shetterly, citing Johnson, in her book Hidden Figures. (William Morrow, 2016) which served as the basis for the 20th Century Fox Movie.

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