December 17, 2008

First Native rocket scientist?

Cherokee rocket scientist leaves NMAI a giftRoss was born in 1908 on her parents’ allotment near Park Hill. At 16, she enrolled in Northeastern State Teachers College, which Chief John Ross was involved in founding.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1928 and taught math and science for nine years in nearby high schools.

She was hired as a mathematician with Lockheed Corporation in 1942. In 1952, she was asked to be one of 40 engineers in what became known as the Lockheed Skunk Works, a super-secret think tank. It was the start of Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., a major consultant to NASA. Ross was 45, the only woman and the only Native American.

Her Lockheed team’s top-secret project?

“Preliminary design concepts for interplanetary space travel, manned and unmanned earth-orbiting flights, the earliest studies of orbiting satellites for both defense and civilian purposes,” columnist Leigh Weimers wrote in the Mercury News in 1994.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Menominee Rocket Scientists and Rocket Scientist and Cake Decorator.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see Most Influential "Maid" Since Pocahontas?