Of All The Latest Medal Of Freedom Winners, America Owes This Woman Everything!

Margaret Hamilton

Barack Obama handed out the Medal of Freedom Award like James Comey handed out immunity deals to Hillary Clinton’s inner circle but that’s another story.

Recipients of the award included Bill and Melinda Gates, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Bruce Springsteen and others. They are all big donors to the Democrat Party, and I could care less.

But this woman, Margaret Hamilton stands out to me like like the sunshine in the sky or shall I say moon. Hamilton was the lead for MIT’s nascent software engineering division, and if that doesn’t float your boat, she wrote the software for Apollo 11’s guidance and navigation, and to add to that, she also was the person who coined the term ‘software engineering.’ Now how cool is that?

Margaret Hamilton

From NASA:

Forty-seven years ago, humans first set foot on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. That success would not have been possible if not for the team of 400,000 people who worked to ensure the success of the mission and the safety of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. One of those 400,000 people was Margaret Hamilton. On November 22, 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Hamilton the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution that led to Apollo 11’s successful landing.

The very first contract NASA issued for the Apollo program (in August 1961) was with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop the guidance and navigation system for the Apollo spacecraft. Hamilton, a computer programmer, would wind up leading the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (now Draper Labs). Computer science, as we now know it, was just coming into existence at the time. Hamilton led the team that developed the building blocks of software engineering – a term that she coined herself. Her systems approach to the Apollo software development and insistence on rigorous testing was critical to the success of Apollo. As she noted, “There was no second chance. We all knew that.”

Her approach proved itself on July 20, 1969, when minutes before Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon, the software overrode a command to switch the flight computer’s priority system to a radar system. The override was announced by a “1202 alarm” which let everyone know that the guidance computer was shedding less important tasks (like rendezvous radar) to focus on steering the descent engine and providing landing information to the crew. Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon, rather than aborting the approach due to computer problems.

I am honored to have seen this young woman given the Medal of Freedom. I think she should be cherished for what she did for America back then and being a woman in a man’s world back in the 50s and 60s, it had to be that much harder.

What do you think of this tremendous pioneer? Share your voices below in the comment section and let us know what you think. Share this great article on your Facebook and Twitter wall.

Wayne is a freelance writer who was named the 2015 American Conservative Union Blogger of the Year and awarded... More about Wayne Dupree

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