The Woman Whose Code Safely Put Humans On The Moon, Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Logical Indian

November 25th, 2016 / 4:39 PM

Margaret Hamilton

Source: nasa | Image Courtesy: nasa | mirror

Margaret Hamilton has been awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on 22nd November 2016 for her devoted work to ensure the success of Apollo 11 mission.

Margaret, born on August 17, 1936, in Paoli, Indiana was the Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory which was contracted by NASA to develop the guidance and navigation system for the Apollo spacecraft.  As a computer programmer, she led the Software Engineering Division of Draper Labs (then MIT Instrumentation Laboratory).  She put together the team that developed the building blocks of modern software engineering, which is also the term she coined herself.

Her rigorous testing and systems approach to the Apollo software development proved itself on 20 July 1969 when Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins successfully disembarked on the moon.

The software program she wrote was to override the guidance computer priority systems and activate the navigation system. It would shed less important radar activities and direct all resources towards steering the vehicle, providing landing information, etc. It was called the “1202 Alarm”. It helped the astronauts guide the vehicle to the landing site. The software was so robust that there were no bugs to be corrected on any of the future Apollo missions too. It was then adapted to be used in Skylab, the Space Shuttle, fly-by-wire systems in aircraft.

Her innovations were recognised by NASA, and she was honoured with the special award in 2003, which also included the biggest financial award ever given to any individual until that point.

She has now been honoured at the White House by President Obama. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, highest civilian award of the United States has been presented to 21 individuals who have contributed meritoriously towards their country.

The other awardees of this medal for 2016 are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elouise Cobell, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Richard Garwin, Bill and Melinda Gates, Frank Gehry, Tom Hanks, Grace Hopper, Michael Jordan, Maya Lin, Lorne Michaels, Newt Minow, Eduardo Padron, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Vin Scully, Bruce Springsteen, Cicely Tyson.

The Logical Indian congratulates all the recipients and hopes more girls and women undertake STEM studies.


Contributors

Written by :

Edited by :

Related Stories

Praveen Ranjan Auto Driver

Delhi Woman Recalls How An Auto Driver Not Only Dropped Her Safely At Midnight, Even Refused To Take Fare

Minal Patel Davis

Indian-American Woman Honoured With Presidential Award By White House For Her Work Against Human Trafficking

Pilot Suffers Cardiac Arrest On Flight Full Of Passengers, Lands Plane Safely

Pilot Safely Lands Plane After Mid-Air Engine Blast, Saves Lives Of 143 Passengers

Niranjan Kumar Jha

Meet The Teacher Whose Eyes Have Failed, But His Vision Is Changing The Lives Of His Students

Harman Singh Sidhu

Meet The Man Whose PIL Led To The Ban On Sale Of Alcohol On Indian Highways

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

To Revive India’s Economy, Finance Minister Announces Cheaper Loan, Relief For Investors

News

MCI Issues Notice To Uttar Pradesh University Over Ragging, Threatens To Restrict Admissions For One Year

My Social Responsibility

This WhatsApp Group Has Resolved 500+ Civic Issues Across Bengaluru – From Bumpy Roads To Faulty Drainage

News

Hyderabad: Ebiz Director, Son Who Lured Students For Profitable Business Arrested In 5000 Crore Fraud

Awareness

Earth’s Lungs Are Burning: Amazon Rainforest Which Contributes 20% Of Planet’s Oxygen Is On Fire

News

Southern Railways Receives Rs 50 Crore To Clear Dues, To Continue Housekeeping Services

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.