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

Edited by :

Share your thoughts..

Related Stories

Bol Gai Denge

Bol Gai Deng: A Labourer In Sudan Is Contesting For Presidential Elections

GM Harika Dronavalli awarded best woman player at Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival

Opposition Names Meira Kumar As Presidential Candidate; Know About Her

Antonio Guterres

Antonio Guterres Replaces Ban Ki-moon As The UN Secretary-General; Know About Him

Donald Trump Wins The 2016 US Presidential Election, A Look Back On The Main Points Of The Election

Mayurakshi Mukherjee

Who Is Mayurakshi Mukherjee? A Kolkata Girl Who Could Put An End To India’s Olympic Rowing Medal Drought

Latest on The Logical Indian

Fact Check

Fact Check: Is Sikkim’s First Airport The 100th Airport Of India As Claimed By PM Modi?

News

Arrested For 22 Year Old Case, Sanjiv Bhatt’s Wife Says, ”He Is Being Punished For Criticising PM Modi”

Opinion

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Irresponsible Statements

News

Stranded At Sea, Commander Abhilash Tomy Rescued After 72 Hours Of Multinational Effort

News

Irregularities Worth Rs 97,000 Crore Found Under Samajwadi Party’s Rule In UP: CAG Report

My Story

My Story: I Don’t Want To Have A Pizza In 30 Minutes At The Cost Of Someone’s Life!

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

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