On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. When stepping onto the surface, astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the famous phrase,"This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
Neil wouldn't have been able to take that step without Margaret Hamilton, the lead software engineer for Project Apollo.
Back in the 1960s, jobs like computer programming
were considered "women's work." Because programming was looked upon as being like typing or data entry, women were hired for the jobs.
As director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, Hamilton led the development of the on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. She was just 31 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and it was only able to land at all because she designed software robust enough to handle space's unpredictable variables. (Meanwhile, I...uh, resized some images today and now I realize my life is a major fail).
In a 1967 Cosmopolitan article
called "The Computer Girls," Adm. Grace Hopper explained: “It’s just like planning a dinner. You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so it’s ready when you need it.” Pot roast, designing software — we do it all.
You can read more about Hamilton
and how her husband complained about the laundry (all of the faces in all of the palms) while she worked late on the lunar module here
. However, she's not the only woman who helped humanity make strides in space. Click ahead to read about the others.