One of the most influential women in space exploration is Katherine Johnson. While Johnson has never been in space itself, she played an influential role in the beginnings of space travel.
Johnson had been a teacher when she heard that NACA, the predecessor to NASA, was looking for African American women to do calculations for the engineers. Johnson had been very interested in math and geometry in College so she jumped at the chance to take the job. While working there she asked many questions and sat in on many meetings. To the point that the engineers had gotten used to her being around.
When NASA was founded Johnson officially joined the team. She then went on to do the calculations for Alan Shepard’s first flight and the moon landing. When NASA decided to start using computer to do calculations for the flights they called her to verify the calculations the computers had made.
Johnson gained many honors from her work at NASA and is a honored member of NASA’s history.