The children in our HOMES all have seeds of incredible potential within them. Katherine Johnson’s potential affected NASA!
Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics helped the United States launch its first astronaut into space in 1961 and safely plant Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969. Most of us were introduced to her story by the movie Hidden Figures. Her aptitude for math revealed itself at an early age. “I counted everything,” she once proclaimed. “I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed … anything that could be counted, I did.” But perhaps the most important companion to her skill was the attitude fostered inside her HOME: “My dad taught us, ‘You are as good as anybody in this town, but you’re no better.’ I don’t have a feeling of inferiority. Never had.” So trusted were her calculations that astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, considered them an integral part of his preflight checklist—even after the equations had been transferred over to modern electronic machines. “When he got ready to go,” Johnson said of Glenn, “he said, ‘Call her. And if she says the computer is right, I’ll take it.” Katherine Johnson past away in late February at the age of 101 and modeled the life of a brave and bold woman.