Katherine G. Johnson (1918-2020), Soultype 5, was a pioneering mathematician and one of the first African American women to work as a scientist at NASA. As a Soultype 5, she used the gifts of her Soultype to manually master complex calculations and help shape how orbital technology is used in space missions. Johnson’s calculations were essential in making crewed space exploration possible for the United States. In a racially segregated America, her presence also broke new ground at NASA. The extraordinary contributions of her career spanned 33 years, from 1953-1986.
Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Let me do it. You tell me when you want it and where you want to land, and I’ll do it backwards and tell you when to take off.
— Katherine G. Johnson
In the photo above, you can see Johnson showing the Facial Expression of Strength for Soultype 5. The Spiritual Portal for Soultype 5 is at the top of the head. Johnson is stretching upwards from her Spiritual Portal and her face is calm. Soultype 5s are able to synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain which results in peace of mind. From this calm state of being they can be with the vastness of the universe and see the spiritual and physical connections between all things.
Known as a “human computer,” Johnson worked on calculating trajectories, launch windows, and emergency return paths for space flights at the height of the Space Race, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars. She calculated the trajectory for the mission that put the first American in space, and later did the math that would send people to the moon and back.
Friendship 7 photo credit: NASA
Johnson’s math was crucial in keeping astronauts safe. For example, astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, specifically requested that Johnson check the accuracy of the computerized flight calculations for Friendship 7 before he would go on his pioneering mission. He said, “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”
Everything was so new — the whole idea of going into space was new and daring. There were no textbooks, so we had to write them.
— Katherine G. Johnson
Due to racism as well as misogyny, she received little recognition for her work while at NASA. It wasn’t until much later in life that she was awarded the acclaim she deserved. In 2015 she received America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. During the ceremony, President Barack Obama described Johnson as someone who “refused to be limited by society’s expectations of her gender and race while expanding our boundaries of humanity’s reach.”
In 2016, Johnson’s story was shared with the world in the American film Hidden Figures, a dramatization following three female African American mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race: Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson.