'Hidden Figures' stars honor NASA physicist Katherine Johnson on Oscars stage

Posted February 28, 2017

Johnson, now 98 years old, thanked the crowd for their support as she appeared onstage alongside Henson and two other lead actresses in "Hidden Figures', Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer, as they announced the victor for Best Documentary Feature".

Hampton resident and NASA Langley pioneer Katherine Johnson made an appearance at Sunday night's Academy Awards.

The film was about the work of Johnson, along with two other incredibly skilled NASA workers in the 60s.

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The film "Hidden Figures", based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - brilliant African-American women who were essential to the success of early spaceflight. Sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in those films are known to all. But her accomplishments go far beyond what was adapted into Hidden Figures.

Johnson, portrayed in the film by Henson, calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space. As a longtime mathematician at NASA, Johnson played a key role in some of the agency's most important missions - including astronaut John Glenn's orbital mission in 1962.

As Johnson once said, "Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing". She was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015 in recognition of her work.