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In a 2015 Globe interview, Hamilton said this about being a female engineer: “Some things were more difficult for a woman then. Some of these women were known as “computresses.” Back then, women studied math and engineering as if they were destined to be in these fields.Poppy Northcutt was one of the computresses, and in the 1960s she became the first female engineer at Mission Control.
The importance of telling these women’s stories can’t be overstated.
Just ask space scientist Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
On this date, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed their moon module on a broad dark lunar lava flow, called the Sea of Tranquility.
Six hours later, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the surface of a world beyond Earth.
Her specialty: writing code to help astronauts return to Earth.
The day Apollo 11 lifted off, Jo Ann Morgan was the lone woman in the launch firing room at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Also in Florida were Zeldin and her family, who were invited to watch the launch at Cape Canaveral. Zeldin said she and her colleagues were sure Americans could land on the moon.
That wasn’t until 1983, when Ride became the first American woman in space.
Leshin did a summer internship at NASA and went on to study meteorites and space rocks, earning her Ph D in geochemistry at Caltech.“Now it’s really important to know about all the hands and minds that made Apollo successful,” Leshin said.
“We need that diversity, and we need people to see themselves in space exploration because we’re going to need all of them to succeed in the future.”“Our astronauts didn’t have much time, but thankfully, they had Margaret Hamilton,” President Obama said in 2016 when he presented the Cambridge resident with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The world watched on television as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. As he stepped onto the lunar surface, Armstrong said, “That is one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” July 20, 1969.