The female mathematician behind John Glenn’s space adventures paid the late astronaut a sweet tribute

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to successfully orbit Earth back in 1962, sadly passed away on Thursday at the age of 95. The woman whose math sent Glenn to orbit beautifully paid tribute to the NASA astronaut.

Katherine Johnson was known as the “human computer.” And, without her, Glenn’s mission would not have happened.

Johnson made history as not only one of NASA’s first black female employees, but she was also one of the mathematicians who invented and verified the computer calculations that sent Glenn into orbit. And, of course, brought him home safely.

In a statement released on Friday, Johnson remembered her friend.

"A good man has left Earth for the last time," Johnson said. "John Glenn's life will long be remembered for his time in space, his courage and his service to all Americans."

In the ’60s, Johnson and her two African American female colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, were called the “colored computers.” Their truly inspiring story will be told in the upcoming film Hidden Figures, which hits theaters on Christmas day.

Check out the trailer, and prepare to feel some feelings:

Actress Taraji Henson plays Johnson in the film. She discussed her initial thoughts while reading the script for the first time with NBC News.

"I read the script and I just remember initially being angry. Here we have these women who changed the course of America, the history of this nation and we don't know about them."

The incredibly important film also stars Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. And we’re looking forward to seeing the true story of these remarkable women brought to light.

Filed Under