Margaret Hamilton

National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinee Margaret Hamilton was NASA’s first “Software Engineer,” a title she invented herself. Hamilton pursued a degree in Mathematics from the University of Michigan and shortly after proceeded to study at MIT in Massachusetts. In 1961, NASA contracted her to write the Apollo program’s guidance system, the computer system that would take three astronauts to the moon. As Apollo 11’s lunar lander module approached the moon, alarms began going off in Neil and Buzz’s cockpit. A computer error appeared, and Margaret Hamilton and her team scrambled to solve the problem. Quickly, Hamilton discovered that her hardware was doing its job; the Astronauts were at fault and had mistakenly flipped a switch incorrectly. Hamilton gave the “go” order for landing, and history was written. After her time at NASA, Hamilton continued her work in software engineering and computer development. In 2016, Margaret was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama for her efforts at NASA and MIT.