Marion Johnson Former Associate Engineer, Project Leader
AIAA SciTech Forum 2021
Marion Lee Johnson attended Talladega College; Talladega, Alabama majoring in mathematics. After graduating from Talladega College, she began her career as an Associate Engineer at The Boeing Company, Huntsville, Alabama in 1967. Boeing was a leader in building the Apollo Saturn V rocket. Marion Lee Johnson was assigned to the Launch Systems Branch at Boeing, and worked on the NASA project for the Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA), under the direction of the legendary Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph.
While working on the Boeing/NASA team in 1967, Marion Lee Johnson was responsible for preparing data inputs for simulation of vehicle piece impact trajectories. Marion received significant commendations in March of 1969 for an incredible perfect score of 20 successful missions, in 20 attempts. Boeing also recognized Marion for her dedication, technical competence, and high standards of achievements in contributing to America’s successful First Manned Lunar Landing Mission on July 20, 1969, where Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Marion’s name is enshrined in the Apollo/Saturn V Roll of Honor. A copy of this historic roll is in the Library of Congress, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, both in Washington, D.C. (also see, http://abc7ny.com/1815282/)
Following her two-year mission with Boeing/NASA, Marion was employed at Pfizer, Inc., and retired as a Project Leader after 26 years of service. She later worked at the Branford Hall Career Institute, formerly known as the Chubb Institute, as a Computer Networking and Security Instructor, where she received the “Award of Excellence” for dedicated service and outstanding accomplishments. Marion has received numerous awards. In June 2017, Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has named June 2nd as “Marion Johnson Day” in Union County, New Jersey. Additionally, she received the Key to the City of Plainfield, New Jersey by the Mayor, and June 8th. was named as “Marion Johnson Day” in the City of Plainfield. During that year, she received the “Hidden Figures Award” for her accomplishments in the Apollo 11 Space Program, and was the recipient of the 1010 WINS News, New York “Visionary Award for 2017.” Additionally, The Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. honored Marion with the P. Merle Wade Trailblazer Award in December 2017. In February 2018, Marion was the keynote speaker at the Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she talked about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in the global economy. In April 2018, Marion was the keynote speaker at the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she was honored as one of the “First Ladies” for her contributions to science and contributing to the First Manned Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission in July 1969. In May 2018, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners of Georgia proclaimed Friday, May 4th “Marion Lee Johnson Day” in Chatham County, Georgia. During that month, the Mayor of the City of Savannah, Georgia, named May 6 as “Marion Lee Johnson Day” in Savannah, GA for her contributions in the field of math, engineering, technology and in America as a whole. In February 2020, Marion was honored at the Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, while being the key note lecturer for “Destination Moon,” in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo II first manned lunar landing mission.