On Dec. 1, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden helped kick off a yearlong centennial celebration for the agency?s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia with several events highlighting the work of the African American women of Langley?s West Computing Unit. These mathematicians performed critical calculations for several historic NASA space missions in the early days of America?s space program, and their story is told in the book, ?Hidden Figures,? by author Margot Lee Shetterly and the upcoming 20th Century Fox movie of the same name. It was also discussed during a NASA education event at Langley featuring Bolden, the film?s director Ted Melfi, NASA?s Chief Historian Bill Barry, and Langley electro-optics engineer Julie Williams-Byrd ? a modern-day NASA figure using science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM — skills to make an impact. Later that evening, a VIP social and screenings of the film took place at nearby Virginia Air & Space Center. The women featured in Hidden Figures ? Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan ? known as ?human computers,? helped put John Glenn in orbit, and helped Neil Armstrong and other astronauts land on the moon. Also, Cassini?s Ring-Grazing Orbit around Saturn, Next Space Station Crew Previews Mission, and Russian Cargo Ship Experiences Anomaly after Launch!
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