The famed mathematician, who was among the trailblazing black women to help pave the way for the United States’ space travel, passed away at age 101 on February 24. Johnson was the inspiration behind the 2016 film Hidden Figures, in which Taraji P. Henson starred. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the loss in a statement on the agency’s website.
“NASA is deeply saddened by the loss of a leader from our pioneering days, and we send our deepest condolences to the family of Katherine Johnson,” he said. “Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space. Her dedication and skill as a mathematician helped put humans on the moon and before that made it possible for our astronauts to take the first steps in space that we now follow on a journey to Mars. Her Presidential Medal of Freedom was a well-deserved recognition.”Back to top