Associated Press Published

State Native Featured in 'Hidden Figures' Film

Hidden Figures

A West Virginia native is one of the elite team of female African-American mathematicians at NASA featured in a new film, “Hidden Figures.”

The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington reports the film tells the story of West Virginia State University graduate Katherine Johnson, now in her 90s, who helped win the space race against the Soviet Union. She is played by “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson.

According to NASA, Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space. And John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, requested Johnson personally check calculations made by new electronic computers before his flight.

Johnson, who now lives in Virginia, said in a news release, that she “was just solving problems that needed to be solved.” She worked on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions.