This morning, Katherine Johnson, the former NASA mathematician whose calculations played a critical role in the early successes of the U.S. space program, passed away at 101 years old. Katherine Johnson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on November 8, 2019, after Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) bill, H.R. 1396, the “Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act,” was signed into law.


Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.


“Today we mourn the loss of an American hero and a pioneer for women and African Americans in STEM fields. Katherine Johnson played a pivotal role in the outcome of the space race during her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, NACA. Without her accomplishments and those of her fellow Hidden Figures, which went largely unrecognized until the last decade, the outcome of the Space Race may have been quite different. Her achievements and impacts on our country are great, and her loss will be felt by many. I send my heartfelt condolences to her loved ones and colleagues.”