A NASA mathematician whose calculations helped ship the primary American into orbit is being honored because the namesake for a resupply craft that can assist the astronauts circling Earth at the moment.
Ought to schedules maintain, the S.S. Katherine Johnson, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship, will launch to the Worldwide House Station on Feb. 20 — 59 years to the day after Johnson’s work made John Glenn’s Mercury mission attainable.
“In celebration of Black Historical past Month, Northrop Grumman introduced the identify of our NG-15 Cygnus spacecraft in honor of Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician who overcame boundaries of race and gender,” the corporate wrote in a Feb. 1 press launch. “It’s the firm’s custom to call every Cygnus spacecraft after a person who has performed a pivotal function in human spaceflight.”
Johnson, who died at age of 101 on Feb. 24, 2020, was amongst a pool of African-American girls whose function it was to be the human “computer systems” for the Nationwide Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor company to NASA. Johnson and her colleagues carried out the mathematical work wanted by the engineers to advance their aeronautical work.
After NASA was based in 1958, Johnson transitioned to the House Process Group at Langley Analysis Heart in Virginia, calculating the suborbital and orbital trajectories for the early U.S. human spaceflights. As a part of her work, Johnson turned the primary girl in NASA’s flight analysis division to be credited because the creator of a report.
Years later, after Johnson retired and a e book and a film introduced her and her fellow “Hidden Figures” tales to the general public’s consideration, Johnson’s contributions to NASA have been additional acknowledged with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, in addition to the naming of NASA’s Computational Analysis Facility and the roadway in front of NASA’s Headquarters constructing in Washington, DC. Mattel additionally modeled a Barbie doll after Johnson’s look.
The NG-15 Cygnus is the primary spacecraft to fly underneath Johnson’s identify.
“Her work at NASA fairly actually launched Individuals into house and her legacy continues to encourage younger black girls on daily basis. Northrop Grumman is proud to have fun the lifetime of Katherine Johnson and her endlessly perseverant spirit,” the corporate stated.
The S.S. Katherine Johnson will launch atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island in Virginia. The uncrewed capsule will ship roughly eight,200 lbs. (three,720 kilograms) of science experiments, provides and hardware for the house station’s Expedition 64 crew.
After about two months berthed to the station, the S.S. Katherine Johnson will depart and deploy quite a few cubesats — together with 42 ThinSats as a part of an outreach program for college kids by the Virginia Business House Flight Authority — earlier than performing a damaging reentry into Earth’s environment.
The S.S. Katherine Johnson is the second Cygnus to be named for a Black house pioneer. The S.S. Robert Lawrence was named for the primary African American to be chosen as an astronaut when it launched in February 2020.
Different Cygnus spacecraft namesakes have included former firm government J.R. Thompson and NASA astronauts David Low, Gordon Fullerton, Janice Voss, Deke Slayton, Rick Husband, Alan Poindexter, John Glenn, Gene Cernan, John Younger, Roger Chaffee and Alan Bean. The newest Cygnus, which launched in October 2020 and departed the house station in January, was named the S.S. Kalpana Chawla after the primary Indian-born girl to enter house.
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