Katherine Johnson: Nasa mathematician dies at 101

Katherine Johnson sits with a globeImage copyright

Image caption

Katherine Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space

Nasa mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch the first American into orbit around the Earth, has died at the age of 101.

Nasa, which describes Ms Johnson as one of its “most influential figures”, announced her death on Twitter.

“Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers,” it wrote.

Ms Johnson’s role at Nasa was highlighted in the film Hidden Figures.

The 2016 film tells the story of African-American women whose maths skills helped put a US astronaut into orbit in the 1960s.

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