Katherine G. Johnson, the human computer behind some of NASA’s biggest advancements and one of the real-life inspirations behind the critically-acclaimed movie Hidden Figures, died Monday, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. She was 101.
Hidden Figures told the story of three African-American women who broke barriers at NASA. Johnson, along with Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, shattered the segregational norms within the agency in the 1960s to push forward some of the country’s greatest aerospace advancements.
Our @NASA family is sad to learn the news that Katherine Johnson passed away this morning at 101 years old. She was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten. https://t.co/UPOqo0sLfb pic.twitter.com/AgtxRnA89h
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) February 24, 2020
In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a trailblazer in the space program. In 2017, she was honored by NASA with a new research building: the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility.