Hidden Figures (2016) Script

14, 15...

16, prime...

18, prime...



22, prime...

West Virginia Collegiate Institute is the best school for Negros in the state.

It's the only school past the eighth grade anywhere near here.






Katherine's in the sixth grade.

They want to take her early.



They're offering a full scholarship.

All you have to do is get there.

Ms. Coleman... why don't you solve the equation on the board?

We took up a collection amongst the teachers and such.

It's not a lot... but it's enough to help get you settled in.

That's more than kind, Ms. Sumner.

If the product of two terms is zero then common sense says at least one of the two terms has to be zero to start with.

So if you move all the terms over to one side, you can put the quadratics into a form that can be factored... allowing that side of the equation to equal zero.

Once you've done that, it's pretty straightforward from there.

In all my years of teaching...

I've never seen a mind like the one your daughter has.


Hurry on now, love.

You have to go.

Let Mama tuck you in.

You have to see what she becomes.

Okay, try to turn it over now.





Quit staring off into space and turn the damn car over.

I got it.

I'm not deaf.

I wonder sometimes.

Here it goes.

Yeah, it's the starter.

That is definitely the starter.

This starter is starting to make us late.

We are all gonna end up unemployed... riding around in this pile of junk to work every day.

You're welcome to walk the 16 miles.

Or sit in the back of the bus.

I won't do neither.

I'll hitchhike.


No crime in a broken-down car.

No crime being Negro neither.

Button it up, Mary.

Nobody wants to go to jail behind your mouth.

I'll do my best, sugar.

Not a great place for three of y'all be having car trouble.

We didn't pick the place, Officer. It picked us.

You being disrespectful?

No, sir.

You have identification on you?

Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

We're just on our way to work... at Langley.

NASA, sir.

We do a great deal of the calculating.

Getting our rockets into space.

All three of you? Yes, sir.

Yes, Officer.


Now that's something.

I had no idea they hired...

There are quite a few women working in the space program.

Damn Russians are watching us right now.


You girls ever meet those astronauts?

Mercury Seven?


Uh, yes, sir. We work with those gentlemen all the time.

Those boys are the best we got. I'm sure of that.

Yeah. Yeah.

We gotta get a man up there before the commies do.

Yes. Absolutely.

Whole damn country's counting on them.

That's for certain.

Hard being of service broken down on the side of the road, though.

Right, right.

Well, do y'all need a tow or something?

No, thank you, Officer. I think I got it.

Just give me my...

Just need to bypass the starter.

She's good at this stuff.

Whoo! Attagirl.

We're all set.

Well, hell, least I can do is give y'all an escort.

I imagine you're running late to work.

No, sir. We wouldn't wanna bother you.

That would be wonderful, Officer.

Thank you so much, sir.

Follow me.

I'm driving.

Hurry up, Dorothy, before he changes his mind.

We're coming. Hold your horses.

Yes! Whoa, slow down, Mary!

Mary, slow down! You're too close!

Be quiet. He said to follow him.

He didn't mean up his behind!

Dear Lord, I don't even know where to begin!

Oh, I'll tell you where to begin.

Three Negro women are chasing a white police officer down the highway in Hampton, Virginia...


Ladies, that there is a God-ordained miracle.

And, tomorrow, I'm riding the bus.

I'm moving over

I'm on a sidewalk I'm going over

Lift off is good. Trajectory is stable.

Show me.

No, exactly.

40.349110 degrees North.

Ascent angle 46. 56.

Approaching 7,400 miles per hour.

118 seconds.

Boosters have disengaged.

Second stage success.

Korabl-Sputnik 4 is orbital.

Orbital entry is established.

Russian orbital entry is established.

Jim Webb.

Yes, Mr. President.

We certainly are, sir.

Uh, it looks like they've achieved at least one orbit, maybe two.

Chernushka is ready to go again.

So is our comrade, Ivan, a brave space traveler.

We have proven life can be sustained in space.

Now we will be first to send a human.

A damn dog and a damn mannequin.

And then, a 1.6 megaton RDS-37 thermonuclear warhead... drops down in the middle of Des Moines.

Well, that's a pretty big jump, sir.


Just that... Who the hell is he?

Paul Stafford, our lead engineer, Mr. Webb.

I think what he meant to say... is that speculation, at least on our side of the equation... by definition can be... just a little dangerous.


You know what's dangerous, Mr. Stafford?

Inaction and indecision.

The Russians have a spy satellite lapping the planet, taking pictures of God knows what!

The President is demanding an immediate response.

No more delay. Alan Shepard, John Glenn, your uncle Bob, it doesn't matter.

Get us up there, Harrison.

We can't justify a space program that doesn't put anything in space.

How'd that feel in there, Paul?

You think you enlightened the administrator?


No, he didn't look enlightened to me.

He look enlightened to you, Sam?

Not particularly.

And just so you know, he's not wrong about what he said in there.

You know that, right?

Because now that they can get up there, a bomb will follow.

It's what happens to all our good ideas.

I imagine theirs too. Where's...

Where's the machine?

Any day now, Mr. Harrison.

Any day now. Yes, sir.

What's it called? The initials.

The IBM.

International Business Machines.

Space is a business.

I need a mathematician.

I'll put in another request, sir.

"Another request." Jesus Christ.

We don't have a single person in this entire building that can handle analytic geometry?

That's what I've been told.

Tell me something else, Ruth... like we're gonna find such a person before the Russians plant a flag on the damn moon.

A real good time.

All right, Gloria.

You'll be with engineering, building four.

Ladies, ladies.

If you're tardy, you don't get an assignment.

If you don't get an assignment, you don't have a job.


Data Reduction, building 202.

Data Reduction?

You're welcome to join the charmers in Magnetoplasma Dynamics.

Oh, no, ma'am.

Thank you. Data Reduction is just fine.


Mary. Present.

The Mercury Seven prototype has arrived for testing.

Mr. Zielinski's requesting you for permanent assignment.

Are you serious?

Get moving.

Ooh, thank you, Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus!

Oh, thank you. Mary, Mary. Keep it inside.

Okay. I'm sorry, Dor.

All right, Ms. Late.

You will also be supporting the east group.

Mrs. Mitchell.

We're on double-time this morning, girls.

I need these calculations before lunch.

Space Task Group needs a computer, ASAP.

Someone with a handle on analytic geometry.

We can't fill that position out of the east group.

Permanent or temp?

Everything's temporary, Dorothy.

You have someone?

Yes, ma'am.

Katherine's the gal for that.

She can handle any numbers you put in front of her.

I'll check her credentials.

Didn't think I'd come all the way down here.

Here. Finish passing those out.

Yes, ma'am.

Mrs. Mitchell.

If I could...

My application for supervisor, ma'am.

Was just wondering if they're still considering me for that position.


Well, the official word is no.

They're not assigning a permanent supervisor for the colored group.

May I ask why?

I don't know why.

I didn't ask why.

We need a supervisor, ma'am.

We haven't had one since Miss Jansen got sick.

It's been almost a year.

Things are working just fine as is.

I'm doing the work of a supervisor.

Well, that's NASA for you.

Fast with rocket ships, slow with advancement.

Get those trajectory calcs worked out.

We need them for the Redstone test.

Mach one tunnel test. T-minus one minute.

No shoe is worth your life.

One moment.

T-minus 10, 9...



6, 5, 4...

Shut it down.

If we alter the exterior from smooth to corrugated... the capsule might have more stability.

But the friction, it is under during re-entry...

Most shield erosion occurs on the posterior side abutting the retro-boosters.


The area closest to the boosters is closest to the heat.

Coupled with rising temperature on re-entry... the contact softens.

We could consider another fastener other than the bolts.



There is another opening in the Engineer Training Program.

Flat head rivets would reduce wind drag.

Mary, a person with engineer's mind should be an engineer.

You can't be a computer the rest of your life.

Mr. Zielinski...

I'm a Negro woman.

I'm not gonna entertain the impossible.

And I'm a Polish Jew whose parents died in a Nazi prison camp.

Now I'm standing beneath a spaceship that's going to carry an astronaut to the stars.

I think we can say we are living the impossible.

Let me ask you... if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?

I wouldn't have to. I'd already be one.

Skirts must be worn past the knee.

Sweaters are preferred to blouses.

No jewelry.

A simple pearl necklace is the exception.

Your supervisor is Mr. Al Harrison, Director of the Space Task Group.

You'll write research, proof calculations, so forth.

Do not talk to Mr. Harrison unless he talks to you.

Not many computers last more than a few days.

He's been through a dozen in as many months.

Come on, keep up.

Things move fast around here.

Your clearance.

They've never had a colored in here before, Katherine.

Don't embarrass me.

This wasn't emptied last night.

I'm sorry, I'm not the... custodian.

Excuse me, ma'am.

Mr. Harrison's computer reporting.

Take the desk in the back. I'll get you work in a bit.

Mr. Harrison won't warm up to you. Don't expect it.

Do your work, keep your head down.

Thank you.

Go on. Get settled.


Why are we still losing shingles off the heat shield?

We're working with a prototype of the capsule, Al.

Its lid is one third the size of what it's going...

I get that.

So, what do we do with our million dollar fan, Karl?

Turn it down? No, Al. I don't think...

It was a joke.

Paul, if the heat shield comes off... what do you think happens to our astronaut?

I know.

So we're gonna come up with a solve, right?

Yes, sir. We're working on it.

Ruth, what's the status on that computer?

She's right behind you, Mr. Harrison.

Does she handle Analytic Geometry?

Absolutely. And she speaks.

Yes, sir. I do.

Which one? Both.

Geometry and speaking.

Ruth, get me the...

You think you...

You think you can find me the Frenet frame for this data?

Using the Gram-Schmidt...

Orthogonalization algorithm. Yes, sir.

I prefer it over Euclidean coordinates.

Okay, good.

Good, then I'm gonna need it by the end of the day.


I'm also gonna ask you to check Mr. Stafford's math as well as others' on this floor from time to time.

I can handle that, Al.

I'm sure you can, Paul. I'm sure they all can.

But if that were the case shingles wouldn't be flying off the heat shield, now would they?

Excuse me, could I have everyone's attention for a moment?

Thank you.

Just to be clear... in 14 days, the Mercury Seven will be here for training.

And I have no doubt in my mind that they're going to be asking us questions about our work.

I think that's pretty reasonable given we're putting a human on top of a missile, shooting him into space, and it's never been done before.

Because it's never been done, everything we do between now and then is gonna matter.

It's gonna matter to their wives... to their children.

I believe it's gonna matter to the whole damn country.

So this Space Task Group will be as advertised.

America's greatest engineering and scientific minds are not gonna have a problem with having their work checked. Are they, Paul?

No, sir.

Good. So let's have an amen, damn it.



All right.

My numbers are spot on.

I will double check them, sir. No problem.


I'm not gonna be able to... Work on what you can read.

The rest is classified. You don't have clearance.

These are the numbers Mr. Harrison gave me.

Yes, I'm absolutely... Excuse me.

May I ask where the ladies' room is?

Sorry. I have no idea where your bathroom is.

Yes, sir.

Uh, yes, sir.

Summertime in Virginia was an oven All the kids eating ice cream with their cousins I was studyin' while you was playing the dozens Don't act like you was there when you wasn't Runnin' from the man Runnin' from the badge Don't act like you was there when you wasn't Runnin' toward our plans And the judges hands Don't act like you was there when you wasn't I know they say you crawl before you walk But in my mind I already jog If I stand still I cannot get far They want the moon I'm on Mars Sometime my mind dives deep when I'm runnin'

Together we'll fly But no more runnin'


Yes, Mr. Harrison?

Ruth, where's that girl with the numbers?

On a... break.

We take breaks now?

Sometime my mind dives deep When I'm runnin'

I don't want no free ride I'm just sick and tired of runnin'

Together we fly But no more runnin'

My God, where have you been?

Are you finished yet?


Almost. He said by the end of the day.

The end of the day around here was yesterday.

I need those done first.

He wants those done first. Okay.

Get going.

I'm sorry about that.

Somebody's working on it right now.

Mr. Harrison.

Yeah. Uh, Just set it... You know.

And Stafford's heat shield calcs?

It's hard to be sure, sir.

Hard to be sure.

You know what we're doing here?

Trying to put a man into space, sir.

That's right.

That's right. So you can throw that in the trash.

Excuse me?

I said you can throw it away.


It's not an insult to your work.

It's just obsolete.

That's how fast things are moving around here.

If I said I was sorry, I'd be saying it all day.

What I'm asking you to do, what I'm asking everyone in that room... all my geniuses... is to look beyond the numbers.

To look around them.

Through them.

For answers to questions we don't even know to ask.

Math that doesn't yet exist.

Because without it, we're not going anywhere.

We're staying on the ground.

We're not flying into space. We're not circling the Earth.

And we're certainly not touching the Moon.

And in my mind...

In my mind, I'm already there.

Are you?

Yes, sir.


Because I don't need another smart girl with an adding machine.

Can I go, sir?

Yeah, go.

Yes, you can go.

We've been waiting for hours. Next time, you take the bus.

She's in a mood.

People talkin' tryin' to break us up Why won't they let us be?

Brick and stones may break my bones But talk don't bother me I've been abused In my heart I haven't been late one day in 10 years.

Haven't been out sick. Haven't complained.

My work's on time.

It's done right. It's done well.

It's not fair, that's a fact.

What's not fair is having the responsibility of a supervisor... but not the title or the pay. Mmm.

Watching you two move on.

Now, don't get me wrong.

Any upward movement is movement for us all.

Just isn't movement for me.

Truth be told, Dorothy...

I don't even know if I can keep up in that room.

I'll be back with the computers in a week.

Or out of a job entirely.

Oh, please.

You're better with the numbers than anyone in there, Katherine, and you know it.

Just make that pencil move as fast as your mind does... you'll be fine.

And you, have some respect.

Get your damn feet off my dashboard.

This isn't your living room.

I sound like a supervisor, don't I?

A mean old salty one.

Riddled with authority, no question.

You don't mess with Mrs. Vaughan.

Turn that music up.

Good night, Katherine.

Bye, Kat.

Good night, ladies.

See you in the morning. Bye.

Hey, baby.

Hello, Mama.

I was fixing to call the National Guard.

Sorry, Mama. New assignment.

Space Task Group.

Oh, my word. That sounds important.

It's a promotion?

It might be a slight promotion.

But you want the job, right?

I think so.

It's a challenge, but...

It's nothing you can't handle, Katherine.

Thank you, Mama.

Are they asleep yet?

They're pretending to be.

What are you doing? I don't...

They're not pretending well enough.


Thank you, Mama. Love you.

This is my bed. No.

Get off!

Go back to yours! I'm oldest! No.

What are you doing? Get off!

What are you doing?

It's not fair how Joylette gets to sleep by herself because she's the oldest.

Yes, it is fair. No, it's not.

Yes, it is. Nuh-uh.

Constance, Kathy, sit.

Now, I understand... you want to be grown and have your own space.

So, whoever sleeps in that bed, in Joylette's place... will also do the dishes... take out the trash... and do all of Joylette's chores.

That's okay. Never mind.

Yeah, she's not so terrible to share with.


Then don't let me come home and find you like this again, you hear me?

You're supposed to been asleep a long time ago.

We just wanted to say goodnight.

You've been gone for 300 hours.

I know. I work a full-time job now.

You all know that.

I have to be Mommy and Daddy.

I miss your father just as much as anyone.

He's with the angels.

Yes, he's with all the angels.

And he's watching over us.

Every minute, okay?

That's why we have to be strong.

All right?

Yes, Mama. Yes, Mama.

Y'all get some rest, okay?


Yes, baby?

Are the Russians fixin' to attack us?

Where'd you get that from?

We had to hide under our desks today... all scrunched up.

Okay, baby, that's called a drill.

It means, uh... you practice safety just in case something happens.

Truth is, we don't know what they're doing up there.

You going to space, too?

No, baby.

But I'm going to do what I can to help those brave men get there. Yes, I am.

You could fly up to space if you wanted to, Mama.

You could be an astronaut.

Did you draw this? Yes, Mama.

Is that me?


You see this?

Oh, my goodness.

I love you, baby.

I know.

Come here.

All right. Now this time really go to bed.


I love y'all. Good night.

Good night. Good night, Mama.

I love my picture, baby.

Thank you, Lord.

Praise God! Praise God!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


Praise God... that change is coming.

From the Southern Christian Leadership Conference... to the good reverend Dr. King...

Amen! Hallelujah!

...to the students sitting in at lunch counters in North Carolina.

That's right. Yes, sir.

His faith in us has no limit.

The good Lord has our very own women working on rocket ships.

And we have National Guardsmen defending our freedom.

Give a shout of praise for Colonel Jim Johnson.

Returning home, by the grace of God to set up a National Guard unit right here in Hampton.

Can I get a hallelujah in here?


I just don't understand.

I don't understand it.

I don't wanna talk about this again, okay?

A female engineer?

A female engineer?

We're Negro, baby.

Ain't no such thing. Understand it.

It's not like that there, Levi.

You can't apply for freedom.

Freedom is never granted to the oppressed.

It's got to be demanded. Taken.

Stop quoting your slogans at me.

There is more than one way to achieve something.

I don't want any greens.

Hey. I tell you about interrupting?

Here. Try this, baby.


You're gonna eat them greens, too.

Kids need to eat their vegetables.

You'd know that if you was ever home.

You better settle down, Levi Jackson.

Unless you want this female's mind, right here, in front of everybody.

All I'm saying... don't play the fool.

I don't wanna see you get hurt.

NASA's never ever given you guys your due.

Having a couple of extra degrees ain't gonna change that.

Civil rights ain't always civil.

I don't want any greens either.

No lip, little miss.

Your brother gets them, and so do you.

I hear he's planning on staying in the area.

Oh, yeah? Well, that's good for him.

Katherine, go find your way over there.

That Colonel Jim is a tall glass of water.

That he is.

Tall, strong, commanding.

And I bet he's like that day and night.

Mary, it's Sunday.

Please have some shame.

I will not.

Hmm, I think he's smiling over here.

At you.

Well I'm not smiling back.

Yes, you are. Oh, child.

You are all teeth right now. I am not.

Come over here.

He's coming over.

Now, why would he be doing that?

'Cause Mary's waving at him. No!

Ladies, I'm not ready. It's too late. Fix your hair.

Hello, Colonel.

I'm Dorothy Vaughan.

That's Mary Jackson. I believe you met her husband, Levi.

Yes, ma'am. Good to meet y'all.

And Mrs. Katherine Goble.

She's not married. She's a widow...

...with three beautiful little girls.

So well behaved.

Angels on earth is what we like to call them.

Dorothy, slice of pie?

I'd love one.

Excuse me.

You already have a slice of pie...


I was just, uh, fixing my three babies some plates...

Let me help you.


Fruit salad. Mmm-hmm.

Pastor mentioned you're a computer at NASA.


What's that entail?


We calculate the mathematics necessary to enable launch and landing for the space program.

That's pretty heady stuff.

Yes, it is.

They let women handle that sort of...


That's not what I mean.

What do you mean?

I'm just surprised that something so... taxing... Mmm-hmm.

Mr. Johnson.

If I were you, I'd quit talking right now.

I didn't mean no disrespect.

I will have you know I was the first Negro female student at West Virginia University Graduate School.

On any given day...

I analyze the manometer levels for air displacement, friction, and velocity and compute over 10,000 calculations by cosine, square root... and, lately, analytic geometry.

By hand.

There are 20 bright, highly capable Negro women in the West Computing Group.

And we're proud to be doing our part for the country.

So, yes.

They let women do some things at NASA, Mr. Johnson.

And it's not because we wear skirts.

It's because we wear glasses.

Have a good day.

Scott, welcome to Langley.

Welcome to Langley. Welcome.

Good to have you here, gentlemen.

Thank you.

That's Alan Shepard, U.S. Navy pilot.

He could be the first man in space.

And that's Scott Carpenter and Walter Schirra... also Navy pilots.

All under 5'11", 180 pounds.

IQs over 130. Mmm.

And handsome must be a requirement too.

How could you possibly be ogling these white men?

It's equal rights.

I have the right to see fine in every color.

And that's John Glenn. He's the only Marine Corps pilot.

Gentlemen, if we may, much to see around here.

Well, heck, we haven't shaken all the hands yet.

We have a fairly tight itinerary, Colonel.

Ruth, he's fine.

He's coming this way. Look straight ahead.

I'm looking right at him.

Ladies, I didn't wanna run off without saying hello.

Seem to be in a big rush around here.

The Russians certainly aren't slowing down any.

They can't build a damn refrigerator.

How the heck did they beat us into space?

And what do you ladies do for NASA?

Calculate your trajectories. Launch and landing.

You can't get anywhere without the numbers.

No, sir.

Mary Jackson, Mr. Glenn. Engineering.

And I'm proud as the devil to be working with you.

Thank you, Mary.


John, let's take it inside. Yes, sir.

Guys. Nice meeting you guys.

Thank you, Colonel. Good luck, sir.

God bless you all.

Thank you. That's wonderful.

Thank you!

Mr. Harrison wants you to confirm launch and landing for the Redstone rocket test.

I cannot work on what I cannot see, Mr. Stafford.

It's illegible.

Those numbers have already been confirmed by two engineers in this department and myself.

This is more or less a dummy check.

You have one, we make it two. Make it double, okay?

We gotta get it. Just make it happen.

No one thought to measure these things?

I'm afraid not, sir.

Well, would you like us to stop?

No. No, just...

Actually, no. Just keep going.

In fact, use the big hammer.

Yes, sir.

Come on, use the big hammer. You heard the man. Let's go.

Watch out.


Our runner can pick up your work, Dorothy.

You need to be working, not walking.

Oh, it's break time, ma'am. No trouble at all.

Since you made the trip... you can take that batch over there.

Sure thing, Mrs. Mitchell.

You need something else? Yes, ma'am.

I was wondering if you know what they're building over in the tech wing.

It's called an IBM.

A mainframe machine.

Apparently, it can do our calculations in a fraction of the time.


I guess that's good for NASA.

Hurry on, now. Best if you do it in one trip.

Excuse me.


What are you looking at, Paul?

Is that correct?


Whose work is that?

I said, whose work is that?

Katherine Goble, sir.

Hello. Hi.

How did you know the Redstone couldn't support orbital flight?

That's classified information.

It's top secret.

It's no secret why the Redstone tests keep failing.

It's fine for sub-orbital flight but it can't handle the weight of the capsule and push it into space.

Numbers don't lie.

And you figured all that out with this?

Half the data is redacted.

But what's there tells a story if you read between the lines.

The distance from launch to orbit, we know.

Redstone mass, we know.

Mercury capsule weight, we know.

And the speeds are there in the data.

You did the math.

Yes, sir.

I looked beyond.

How do you know about the Atlas rocket?

That's not math.

That data is not here.

Like you said, it's classified.

I held it up to the light.

You held it up to the light?

Yes, sir.

Well, there it is.



What's your name?

Katherine Goble.

Are you a spy, Katherine?

Am I what?

I said, are you a Russian spy?

No, sir.

I'm not Russian.

She's not Russian, sir.

All right then, we have nothing to lose here.

Give her everything she needs to work on Shepard's trajectories.

Without redaction. Are we clear on that?

Are we sure about this?

What's the issue, Paul?

You heard her.

She's not a spy.

I just don't think it's a good idea.

You know what I think's a good idea? Darker ink.

I think darker ink's a good idea.

Ruth, could you pass it along?

Yes, sir.

Thank you, Katherine.

Thank you, sir.

This interrogation's over.

You can probably get to the moon and back with this.

Just not the bathroom.

At least they're not blind of what you do.

It's not gonna matter soon.

This IBM's gonna put us all out of work.

How you doing? What can we do about it?

Only one thing to do.

Learn all we can, make ourselves valuable.

Somewhere down the line, a human being is gonna have to push the buttons.

That's right.

Oh, mercy.

Well, she must be lost.

NASA doesn't commission females for the Engineer Training Program.

That position is available to any qualified applicant.

Right. Except, you don't have the educational requirements.

I have a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physical science.

It's the same as most engineers around here.

We now require advanced extension courses through the University of Virginia.

It's in the employee handbook. In addendum.

In case you haven't read it.

Every time we have a chance to get ahead... they move the finish line.

I just follow the rules around here.

And I expect everyone who works for me to follow them as well.

There are no special circumstances for anyone.

Y'all should be thankful you have jobs at all.

"For those that cannot attend classes at the University of Virginia...

"advanced extension courses are available

"at the Hampton High School."

That's still a segregated school, Mary.

Virginia acts like Brown versus Board of Education never happened.

They are never gonna allow a colored woman to just take classes at an all-white school.

Well, sounds about right.

That's all you gonna say?

I'm not gonna sit here all day and listen to you complain about the way things are.

We're trying to play cards.

Petition the court. Fight for what you want.

But quit talking about it.

I've been complaining? For days.


Not one more peep about work.

Deal me in.


Come on. Oh, no.

Right here. You.

Child, I needed this.

Thank you.

Don't give her anymore, Katherine.

I can't. She drank it all.

Listen, I'm fine.

I'm as fine as I have ever been.

You're drunk as you've ever been.

Come on. Let's dance, ladies.

Come on, Kat. Let's dance.

Go and dance with her, Katherine.

Come on. Get out here.

Hide that.

We gonna teach you how to dance.

You go ahead.

All right. It's too low.

We gonna teach you how to get a man.

Teach me? What? That's right. Come on!

You got to know how to dance.

Slow. Slow. Come on.

Twirl it around. Twirl, twirl.

Yes! Twirl, twirl, twirl.

Whoo! Look at her, Dorothy.

Can I win me one of those fancy dance contests?

Whip it around.

Yeah, and on the outside.

Was it better than Mama's?

No, not really.

Segregation must go!

Segregation must go!

Segregation must go!

Segregation must go!

Don't pay attention to all that.

We're not part of that trouble. Go on.

"Mind. They must have done..."

We don't want any trouble in here.

Oh, I'm not here for any trouble, ma'am.

What are you here for?

A book.

You have books in the colored section.

It doesn't have what I'm looking for.

That's just the way it is.

Go on, now. You know better than this.

Get your hands off my boys! Don't touch them.

You have a blessed day.

Separate and equal are two different things.

Just 'cause it's the way, doesn't make it right.


Yes, Mama.

You act right, you are right.

That's for certain.


Yes, Mama.

You took that book, Mama?

Son, I pay taxes.

And taxes pay for everything in that library.

Can't take something you already paid for.

"Fortran is a new and exciting language...

"used by programmers to communicate with computers.

"It is exciting, as it is the wave of the future."

All right, everybody smile.

Everybody smile. Aw!

Make a wish. Make a wish.

Blow. Try again.

There you go.

Leonard, you need to get you a job now.

Two jobs.

Your baby is nine. What are you gonna do?

Thank you, man. Yeah, you're just in time.

Look at that.

Look at what? What a surprise.

Can't complain, man.

I'll say.

Howard must have invited him. Mmm-hmm.

Let me go help them with those flowers.

Walter, you behave yourself.

Now, you know, I'm just... Yeah.

That's right, baby. Shake it.

Yeah. There you go.

Good to see you. Yes. Thank you.

I believe I owe you an apology.

Well, was that it?

Can I make it while we dance?

I'm afraid I simply misspoke the other day, Mrs. Goble.

I've been away for a long time.

I imagine I'm just out of practice.


I was hoping you'd allow me to start over.


See, the thing is...

I have an interest in getting to know you better.


You're one tough customer, huh?

You haven't said you're sorry yet.


Of course.

I'm sorry, Katherine.

For what, Jim?

Underestimating you.

And any other woman like you...

Though I don't imagine there's many.

That's good practice, right there.

We interrupt this musical programming with breaking news.

The Soviet news agency has announced that Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, has become the first man in space.

Gagarin completed one full orbit around the planet in 108 minutes.

Stay tuned to this station for more details as they become available.

Guess that puts us behind the curve.

The Vostok-1 rocket... delivered Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's 3KA capsule... into orbit, at 6:07 UTC...

Reentering Russian airspace at 7: 55 UTC.

Proving conclusively that man could survive orbital space flight.

Gagarin was awarded the Order of Lenin and a Gold Star...

Well, they beat the pants off us.

Let's go.

He is also conferred the title...

Let's learn how to fly to space.

"First Soviet Astronaut"... and has been proclaimed a national hero.

This is a day of unprecedented triumph... for the Russian space program and a crushing blow for America in the race for space.

I wanna thank everyone for staying.

I know it's late. And after what I just saw, I'm sure everyone's probably anxious to just go home.

Before we do, I just have to ask a question.

The same one I've been asking myself all the way over here... which is...

How the hell did we find ourself in second place in a two-man race?



And I think Glenn said it pretty well.

They're just outworking us.

The reason I have to think that is because I refuse to believe that the Russians are smarter than us or that they have more technology, or that they care more.

But I don't know. Is that possible?

Is it possible that it actually means more to them?

We're in the fight of our lives, people.

We're not on some epic joy ride.

I just saw seven faces who aren't sure that we can get there.

This is our problem.

And so as of right now there's only two things you need to know going forward.

One is staying here, working late, that's gonna be a fact of life.

And two, don't expect your paychecks to reflect the extra time it's gonna take to catch up and pass those bastards.

For those of you who can't work that way, I understand and thank you for what you've done.

For everyone else...

I suggest you call your wives and tell them how it's gonna be.

I'll start with mine.

Sam, turn it up. Turn it up.

Yes, sir.

John. Morning, sir.

7-5, 7-4, 7-3...

End of the day.

Okay, we're looking good.


Sir, might be the selector latch.

I'm taking a walk.

We're honored to serve our country.

So we don't think about danger.

We don't have time to be scared.

We got a job to do.

Good morning. Good morning.

Mrs. Jackson.

Colored seats are at the back of the court room.

Thank you, ma'am.

So, which one of you wants to go first?

The IBM 7090 data processing system.

It has the capability of solving over 24,000 multiplications per second.

Holy Moses, that's lightning fast.

They'll never get that to work.

Oh, it'll run eventually.

And when it does, we have to know how to program it.

Unless you'd rather be out of a job.

No, ma'am.

Mr. Z...

I got a court date.

"The computer uses it

"as its high speed storage unit, "an information holding device."


You have a brain.

That I can work with.

This is in the wrong spot.



Yes, sir. Get me the Cape on the line.

Shepard's trajectories need to be updated.


Where is she?

You and I are no different from each other Shut our eyes when we slumber I see numbers Black and white we're computers, I am color Don't act like you was there when you wasn't

I don't want no free ride

Some nights I cry

'Cause I can see the day comin'

Together we fly Oh, but no more runnin'

No more runnin'

Where the hell have you been?

Everywhere I look, you're not where I need you to be.

It's not my imagination.

Now where the hell do you go every day?

To the bathroom, sir.

To the bathroom?

To the damn bathroom.

For 40 minutes a day?

What do you do in there?

We're T-minus zero here. I put a lot of faith in you.

There's no bathroom for me here.

What do you mean there is no bathroom for you here?

There is no bathroom.

There are no colored bathrooms in this building or any building outside the West Campus, which is half a mile away.

Did you know that?

I have to walk to Timbuktu just to relieve myself.

And I can't use one of the handy bikes.

Picture that, Mr. Harrison.

My uniform...

Skirt below my knees, my heels, and a simple string of pearls.

Well, I don't own pearls.

Lord knows you don't pay coloreds enough to afford pearls!

And I work like a dog, day and night, living off of coffee from a pot none of you wanna touch!

So, excuse me if I have to go to the restroom a few times a day.

There you have it.

No more colored restrooms.

No more white restrooms.

Just plain old toilets.

Go wherever you damn well please.

Preferably closer to your desk.

Here at NASA, we all pee the same color.

Heard you was fighting the flu.

Figured you could use some soup.

Hot meal for the girls.

Come on in.

Excuse me.

Okay, ladies. Let's say grace.

Bow your heads.

Dear Lord, thank you for this meal.

We ask that you bless this food so that it may bless our bodies.

In Jesus's name we pray.

Amen. Amen.

It's a historic day, here at Cape Canaveral.

And here's what we can expect.

Alan Shepard and Freedom 7 will be launched into space at an altitude of about 116 miles an hour.

Dorothy, come on, you gonna miss it! Oh, boy! Go.

Come on, Dorothy. I'm coming.

...then he will land around 35 miles off the coast of Florida... where he'll be picked up by the men of the USS Lake Champlain...

Finally. Come over here. who set out for this historic purpose.

Freedom 7, we're going to have to bleed off some of the pressure inside the liquid oxygen tank.

That should reduce the temperature inside the capsule. Over.

Any day now, CAPCOM.

Fix your little problem and light this candle.

Roger that, Freedom 7.

Stand by.

Temperature is returning to normal.

Running one more launch status check.

All systems now go.

Move to final countdown sequence.

Moving to final countdown sequence.

Roger that.

We're at T-minus 10... nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... one... zero.

We have ignition.

And we have lift off.

Get up there.

Lift off, and the clock is started.

Fuel is go. 2.5G.

Get on up there.

Come on! Lift off at

34 minutes after the hour.

Pitch 88. Trajectory is good.

Yaw is okay.

Switching manual roll.


For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the Moon and to the planets beyond.

Yes! We did it!

And we have vowed... that we shall not see it governed... by a hostile flag of conquest... but by a banner of freedom and peace.

We set sail on this new sea... because there is new knowledge to be gained... and new rights to be won.

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things... not because they are easy... but because they are hard.

Suppose we should all thank President Kennedy for the continued job security.

Uh, Gus Grissom's up next.

Another suborbital flight with a Redstone.

It's our last shot before we strap Glenn to the Atlas and pray we can bring him back down.

Yes, and I imagine he'd like us to have the math worked out beforehand.

Good work, gentlemen.

Go have dinner with your kids and let's get back to work.

Look what you've done to me Make me behave like I wouldn't ever I know you're the one for me Your essence is the ink in the word "forever"

I think it's high time that I kissed you, Katherine.

Oh, and why is that?

Figured you attracted to me, same as I to you.

Is that right? Mmm-hmm.

Or you would have told me to get going a long time ago.

Haven't kissed a man in a long time.

Almost forgot how to.

The FBI has arrested four white men accused of throwing a fire bomb into a Freedom Rider bus outside of Anniston, Alabama...

Hi, babies. The bus filled rapidly Hi, Mama. ...with black smoke.

We all hit the floor.

All of us realized the bus was on fire... and had to go out into the mob.

The kids don't need to be watching this.

They need to see this.

When we got off the bus in Birmingham...

Everybody needs to see this.

...took me and forced me out of the door... and threw me into the crowd.

And then I was beaten by one big guy and several others.

We think we're rendering a great service to our nation.

For this is not a struggle for ourselves alone.

It is a struggle to save the soul of America.

Mary Jackson.

Petition to attend courses at Hampton High School.

Good morning, Your Honor.

Hampton High School is a white school, Mrs. Jackson.

Yes, Your Honor. I'm aware of that.

Virginia, still a segregated state.

Regardless of what the federal government says, regardless of what the Supreme Court says, our law is the law.

Your Honor, if I may.

I believe there are special circumstances to be considered.

What would warrant a colored woman attending a white school?

May I approach your bench, sir?

Your Honor... you of all people should understand the importance of being first.

How's that, Mrs. Jackson?

You were the first in your family to serve in the Armed Forces.

U.S. Navy.

The first to attend university.

George Mason.

And the first state judge to be recommissioned by three consecutive governors.

You've done some research.

Yes, sir.

What's the point?

The point is, Your Honor... no Negro woman in the state of Virginia... has ever attended an all-white high school.

It's unheard of.

Yeah. Unheard of.

And before Alan Shepard sat on top of a rocket, no other American had ever touched space.

And now, he will forever be remembered as the U.S. Navy man from New Hampshire, the first to touch the stars.

And I, sir...

I plan on being an engineer at NASA, but I can't do that without taking them classes at that all-white high school.

And I can't change the color of my skin.

So I have no choice but to be the first.

Which I can't do without you, sir.

Your Honor... out of all the cases you're gonna hear today... which one is gonna matter 100 years from now?

Which one is gonna make you the first?


Only the night classes...

Mrs. Jackson.

Yes, yes, yes!


Oh, my God. I cannot believe.

How late did he say he was gonna be?

Excuse me. No more than five minutes, sir.

Gus Grissom's coordinates.

Uh, I'd like to get a jump on John Glenn's trajectory.

Do you have any idea what you're asking?

An orbital launch with an Atlas rocket is going to take time.

Is there a problem?

Mr. Harrison...

I was wondering.

Uh-huh. I've been wondering my whole life, so you just spit it out.

Well, sir...

I would like to get a jump on John Glenn's trajectory.

This isn't about plugging in numbers, it's about inventing the math.

And I think you and I talked about that, right?

It doesn't exist.

I can do it, sir.

Do you have any idea how exacting these calculations have to be?

It's like shooting a sawed-off shotgun from a thousand feet and getting that one BB through a hole so tiny, you can't even see it.

Okay, let me see what you've got.

I'm an excellent shot, sir.

How have the Grissom numbers been?

They've been spot on.

Give Glenn's orbit a go.

But you run it all through Stafford, you understand?

Yes, sir.

Thank you.

Computers don't author reports.

CAPCOM, this is Liberty Bell 7.

Loud and clear.

Okay, it's a nice ride up to now.


Liberty Bell 7, this is Hook 1 approaching.

Ready to hook on. Over.

I read you loud and clear. Over.

The hatch is blown, CAPCOM.

The Liberty Bell 7 capsule is taking on water.

Gus Grissom is out of the capsule.

Rescuers are now going to pull him from the ocean waves.

Unfortunately, the Liberty Bell 7 capsule is lost.


I can't, I can't. Mary.

Mr. Harrison, taxpayer money sank into the ocean along with your capsule.

So what makes you think you can bring John Glenn home safely?

Let me say first... discovery is never just for the sake of discovery, gentlemen... but for the sake of human survival.

And it will always come with a risk.

Whoever gets there first will make the rules.

That's been true of every civilization.

And so, I think the bigger question for this body to consider is... who do you want calling the shots in space?

We have to know what's out there, Senator.

We have to touch the stars, if only to ensure our own survival.

And only a man can do that.

We'll get John Glenn home safely because we have to.

Because he has to tell us what he saw.

The Redstone rocket went straight up.

But the capsule didn't have enough speed to go into orbit, so it came back down.

Essentially a triangle. Earth, sub-orbit, Earth.

That math was known.

That took Shepard, took Grissom.

That cannot take Glenn.

Now, the Atlas rocket... that can push us into orbit.

Goes up, delivers the capsule into an elliptical orbit.

Earth's gravity keeps pulling at it but it's going so fast, it keeps missing the Earth.

That's how it stays in orbit.

Now, getting it back down... that's the math we don't know.

Yes, Katherine.

So the capsule will spin around the Earth forever because there's nothing to slow it down?

That's right.

Slowing it down at precisely the right moment, at precisely the right amount, that's the task.

Yes, Katherine.

So it needs to move from an elliptical orbit... to a parabolic orbit.


That's the "Go/No-go."

Now at this point, it's a pin head.

We bring him in too soon...

He burns up on reentry.

That's right.

We bring him in too late... he's pushed out of Earth's gravity.

And any changes to mass, weight, speed, time... distance, friction, or a puff of wind... would alter the "Go/No-go."

And we start our calculations over.


So we need to be able to choose this reentry point.

Now this "Go/No-go," this has to be exact.


These are the latest Redstone numbers in current capsule data.

Obviously, we know the launch spot.


A Pentagon briefing should illuminate where the Navy needs the recovery zone.

Then we work backwards from there.

And the rest is on us, so let's get to work.

Uh, Mr. Stafford.

What, Katherine?

If I could attend the briefings, I'd be more useful to the project.

Pentagon briefings are closed door.

Yes, but if we don't have the information of the changes... we can't keep up.

I need those changes as they occur.

As you said, it's a pin head.

Katherine, that's the job.

You asked for this assignment, so just calculate with what you have.

Or we'll find someone who can.



What the hell are you doing? You can't be in here.

Who are you?

I'm with the West Computing Group.

Dorothy Vaughan, sir.

This is a very delicate piece of equipment.

I'm sorry, sir. I'm just trying to be helpful.

Uh-huh. Bill, we've got numbers.

What kind of numbers?

Well, I'll be.

What's your name again?

Dorothy Vaughan.

Dorothy Vaughan.

Sir, the parameters for Friendship 7.

Oh, this is all moot.

We're altering the window on the capsule.

When did this happen? Six minutes ago.

The math is changing. Start over.

Sir, if I could attend the briefings, I could stay current...

Katherine, we have been through this.

It is not possible.

There is no protocol for women attending.

There's no protocol for a man circling the Earth either, sir.

Okay. That is just the way things are.

Colonel Glenn's launch coordinates, accounting for the window change, sir.

I have told you this.

Computers don't author reports. Fix it.

Those are my calculations. My name should be on it.

That is not the way this works.

Paul. What's happening here?

Mr. Harrison, I would like to attend today's briefing.

And why is that?

Sir, the data changes so fast. The capsule changes.

The weight and the landing zones are all changing, every day.

I do my work, you attend these briefings, I have to start over.

Colonel Glenn launches in a few weeks.

We don't have the math figured out yet.

Why is it she can't attend?

Because she doesn't have clearance, Al.

I cannot do my work effectively if I do not have all of the data and all of the information as soon as it's available.

I need to be in that room, hearing what you hear.

Pentagon briefings are not for civilians.

It requires the highest clearance.

I feel like I'm the best person to present my calculations...

You're not gonna let this go, are you? No, I am not.

And she is a woman. There is no protocol for a woman attending these meetings.

Okay, I get that part, Paul.

But within these walls, who makes the rules?

You, sir. You are the boss.

You just have to act like one. Sir.

You keep quiet.

Thank you.

Good morning.


This is Katherine Goble with our Trajectory and Launch Window division.

Her work is pertinent to today's proceedings.

Come on.

Wanna get her a chair?

We have a confirmed launch window...

Get her a chair, please. Yes, sir.

We have a confirmed launch window for Friendship 7.

Let's discuss a landing zone.

The Navy needs a singular landing zone.

20 miles square is what we can service for retrieval.

Outside of that we risk the capsule's recovery.

We'd like three possible recovery areas.

We can't cover half the damn ocean.

With all due respect, our capsule's being altered daily.

We're orbiting the Earth at what speed now?


17,544 miles per hour... at the time the rocket delivers the capsule into low space orbit.

Well, that's one hell of a speeding ticket.


So we have the vehicle's speed, the launch window... and for argument's sake, the landing zone is the Bahamas.

Should be enough to figure the "Go/No-go"?

Yeah, in theory, sir.

We need to be past theory at this point.

We'll be able to calculate a "Go/No-go" with that information.

When exactly is that gonna happen?


Have a go at it.

The "Go" point for re-entry is 2,990 miles from where we want Colonel Glenn to land.

If we assume that's the Bahamas... at 17,544 miles per hour... upon re-entry...

370 feet... at a descent angle... of 46.56 degrees.

Distance... velocity squared, sine... gravity squared.

Sine, 32 feet.

And the distance would be...

20,530,372 feet... or 2,990 miles... or 46.33 degrees.

Okay, so that puts your landing zone at 5.0667 degrees North...

77.3333 degrees West.

Which is here.

Right here.

Give or take 20 square miles.

I like her numbers.

Thank you.

That, of course, is assuming the capsule hits the re-entry point exactly.

How do we ensure that?

That's the math we don't have yet, gentlemen.

We're working on it.


What's it gonna take to make this thing worth the price tag?

We're just getting up to speed here, Mr. Harrison.

I need more manpower.

I need programmers, folks to feed the cards.

Get them, for crying out loud.


You're the IBM man, right? Yes, sir.

Go pull them out of the sky if you have to.

Let's get ahead of this thing or I'm not paying you.


I got that one, I got that one.

I'm not paying any of you.


Temporarily, yes.

We need the IBM for Glenn's launch.

The lead engineer says you're good with the cards, programming and such.

What about the girls here?

Human computers can't calculate an orbital flight in the time we have.

They'll stay put for now.

What about after now?

After Glenn's launch, NASA's dissolving the computing groups.

I'm not accepting reassignment unless I bring my ladies with me.

Excuse me?

We're gonna need a lot of manpower to program that beast.

I can't do it alone.

My gals are ready. They can do the work.


We've been reassigned.

Leave your calculators.

You won't need them where we're going.

Welcome, ladies.

You know what your job is, Paul?

Find the genius among those geniuses.

To pull us all up.

We all get to the peak together or we don't get there at all.

Yes. Well, good night, sir.

I don't know what time I'm coming home.

Class ends at nine.

You got something to say?

I thought you might need these.

You can refill them with any weight lead you want.

You see, you just hit the top like this.

All right? The lead comes out.

You put the new lead in... and new pencil.

You gonna make a fine engineer.

You think so?


And nobody dare stand in the way... of Mary Jackson's dreams.

Myself included.

Don't make me mad again.

Yes, ma'am.

And don't make me late, either.

You gonna be late. I'mma make you late.

You won't be late.

All right, gentlemen.

Tonight, we discuss Planck-Einstein wavelength relationships.


I'm Mary Jackson.

I'm enrolled.

Well, the curriculum is not designed for teaching a woman.

I imagine it's the same as teaching a man.

I don't see a colored section.

Should I just take any seat?

Thank you.

Okay. Uh...


The problem... is when the capsule moves from an elliptical orbit to a parabolic orbit.

There's no mathematical formula for that.

Because we can calculate launch and landing... but without this conversion the capsule stays in orbit, we can't bring it back home.

Maybe we've been thinking about this all wrong.

How's that?

Maybe it's not new math at all.

It could be old math.

Something that looks at the problem numerically, and not theoretically.

Math is always dependable.

For you it is.

Euler's method.


But that's ancient. But it works.

It works numerically.

That's it.

Let's type it up.




Mrs. Mitchell.

You're working late today.

Seems to always happen that way.

Yes. Seems to.

Thank you.

I hear the IBM's up to full capacity.

You certainly have a knack for it.

My father taught me a thing or two about mechanics.

You know, I have a few girls in the East Group that have an interest in learning more about it.

It is the future.

I may bring them by, if it's all the same to you.

That's not my decision, ma'am.

That would be the supervisor's.

Yes, that's true.

Good night, Mrs. Mitchell.

You know, Dorothy.

Despite what you may think...

I have nothing against y'all.

I know.

I know you probably believe that.

Good night, Katherine.

Good night.

Mama! Hey, babies.

Mama. Hi.


Oh, please don't tell me I missed someone's birthday.

No, you didn't.

No, you didn't, Mama.

Madame, your seat.

Well, thank you.

Wait, is it my birthday?

No, Mama.

You all look so pretty.

Mama, what's going on?

Good evening, Katherine.

So you're not gonna say anything?

It's not my place.

You, either?

Okay, I'm not gonna do this all night.

Oh, mother of mercy.

That's for me.

Are you sad, Mama? No.

It's okay, Mama. He's a good man.

I know.

I just can't help it.

He hasn't even asked you yet.

I know, but he is.

You are, right?

If y'all will let me.

Well, go on. She's already crying.

Oh, hush.

This was my mother's ring.

It's beautiful.

She and my father were married for...

For 52 years.

Figure it's about as lucky a ring as you can get.

The day I met you, I called my mother and I said, "Mom, I met the woman I want to marry."

What'd she say?

She said, "She must be something, Jimmy.

"Really something."

Then what'd you say?

I said, "No.

"She's more than something.

"She's everything."


I planned on this being more romantic.

I'll make that up to you real soon.

It's okay.

But I know marrying you includes marrying your girls as well.

Amen to that.

I do.

I didn't ask you yet.

Hurry up.

Oh, my goodness.


My babies. Look, girls, isn't it beautiful?

Look, Mama.

The Mercury-Atlas space vehicle... which will put John Glenn, the first American, into Earth's orbit... has already undergone five unmanned flight tests.

NASA has confirmed that the IBM 790 data processing system... has been utilized to confirm all of the mission 's... launch and recovery system calculations.

The modifications and equipment installations are progressing on schedule.

Yes, sir. Right in here.

You wanted to see me, sir?

Have a seat.

Is there something wrong, Mr. Harrison?

No, there's nothing wrong.

In fact, our IBM is churning out numbers in fractions of the time any human can.

Present company included.

That's good then.


The thing is, the Cape's now insisting on doing all the backups down there, on site.

I see.

So we won't be running backups here.

And truth be told, we can't keep up with that IBM anyhow.

Long story short, we no longer need a computer in this department.

Progress is a double-edged sword.

Let's have you report back to the West Group for now.

We'll see if we can find another assignment.

Thank you, sir.

Katherine, I'm...

I'm sorry about this.

It's out of my hands, if you can believe that.

I understand.


We heard you got engaged.


That's thoughtful of you.

They're lovely.

Mr. Harrison's idea, really.

Although I suspect his wife did the picking out.

Can't imagine he has an eye for anything but numbers.

Now you have a great wedding.

You did good work around here, Katherine.

Hello there. Good to see you.

Hi, Reverend. How you doing? How are you?

I don't think I felt a thing the first time I did this.

I was so nervous.

You're just as beautiful as you were back then.

You think so? Mmm.

Just a little older.

And a little fuller.

But you look good.

Well, here we go. Again.

Project Mercury... named after the winged messenger of the gods in Roman mythology. Today, three years, two months, and three days afterwards... we're ready, after 10 scheduled attempts...

Attagirl. to try again to put our first man into orbit... to put Colonel John Glenn into orbit.

Colonel John Glenn will be the first American to orbit the Earth.

As you can see, there are thousands of people here today to witness this historic event.

Paul, something's off here.

These landing coordinates don't match yesterday's.

The IBM just ran them.

Well, then the IBM was wrong yesterday.


Or the damn thing's wrong today.

Paul, am I right?

It appears so.

The IBM's been spot-on up to this point, John.

But we'll run it again, see what it comes up with.

Look, I'm gonna be honest with you, Al.

When I fly, I fly the machine.

And right now it seems like this machine is flying me.

We're on the same page, John.

Our guys are on it.

Let's get the girl to check the numbers.

The girl? Yes, sir.

You mean Katherine?

Yes, sir. The smart one.

I mean, she says they're good, I'm ready to go.

All right. We'll get into it.



Go find Katherine Goble.

She needs to verify Glenn's "Go/No-go," or we're staying on the ground.

Yes, sir.

I'm looking for Katherine Goble.

It's Katherine Johnson now.

They need you to verify these coordinates.

...and tourists have poured into Cocoa Beach for weeks.

Took this whole area surrounding Cape Canaveral and Florida, really.

And all around the country, it's as if time...

All right, give her some space. Let her work.

...as we await Colonel John Glenn's launch.

A truly historic day for America.

The country has waited for several months, through many failed unmanned Atlas rocket tests and 10 scheduled manned attempts... which were canceled for various mechanical or system complications.

Even the weather...

All the final tests and checks are being conducted.

John Glenn is ready to board the Friendship 7.

But today we remain truly optimistic, and it's a "Go" day in all regards.

The capsule is ready.

The rocket itself is A-Okay, and the weather here at Cape Canaveral...

Anything from Langley? Not yet.

We are being told that Mission Control at NASA is conducting a final check of the launch and recovery coordinates.

Including the "Go/No-go" calculations... so crucial to a safe and successful launch and recovery.

After years of waiting, and months of delay, Colonel Glenn is finally ready for that space flight... that we've been waiting for with so much anticipation.

These last-minute checks could indicate a hesitancy on NASA's behalf.

But let us say, without reservation... that the safety of Colonel John Glenn is paramount to the mission... and to the nation itself.

No, sir. We're still a go.

Yes, sir.

That's it.

What the devil are you doing? Are you taking a break?


Say yeah Yeah Say, yeah!


Don't you know, we never ever Never know what makes us major Your and my alchemy Yes, we can One and one equals three Yes, we can I feel it like lightning in the forest Yes, we can Pick a number, pick a note Harmonize the chords You're my woman don't need another Get behind the other We can lift each other It's all very well that we may never...


Do you have the time?

Yes, we can Like a solar system they're surrounded by you Yes, we can Pick a number, pick a note Harmonize the chords You're my woman don't need another Get behind the other we can lift each other

...It's all very well that we may never...


You're my woman Don't need another Get behind the other We can lift each other Whoo!


Pad 14.


Come on.

Sir, we've got Pad 14 on the box.

All right. Let me in there.

This is Langley, we have the coordinates confirmed.

Stand by, Langley.

We can confirm... the "Go/No-go" point for re-entry is...

16.11984 degrees latitude...

-165.2356 degrees longitude.

The launch window is a go.

The landing coordinates match.

That is very good news, Al.

It's a little hard to trust something you can't look in the eyes.

That's right, Colonel.

Katherine did manage to calculate a few decimal points further than that hunk of metal.

I will take every digit you got.

Be sure to thank her for me.

Gentlemen, let's launch this rocket.

Good luck, Friendship 7.

Godspeed, Langley.

Here at Cape Canaveral... the countdown has resumed... as Colonel John Glenn... is now aboard the Friendship 7... high above the Atlas rocket on Pad 14.

A height of over 93 feet.

So far, the countdown is...

These are pictures from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The gantry is now moving back.

We are go for launch.

The Mercury spacecraft umbilical is out.

T-minus 10 seconds, and counting.

Water systems, go. Mercury capsule, go.

Eight, seven...

Six, five... Ready engine. Start. four... three, two... Good Lord, ride all the way.

One, zero.


Lift off.

The M-A 6 vehicle has lifted off.

It's getting a little bumpy along here.

Roger that. You are in Max Q.

Roger that, CAPCOM.

All systems are reported go.

20 seconds to SECO.

The trajectory is still A-Okay.

Go for SECO.

Roger that, CAPCOM. Go for SECO.

Zero G and I feel fine.

John Glenn reports everything looks good.

Oh, that view is tremendous!

Roger that, Friendship 7.

You are go for orbit.

Thank you, CAPCOM.

All right. Ten and a half hours to go.

If we make seven round trips.

I could use a coffee.

Well, as we approach the end of the day here on the Eastern Seaboard...

Colonel Glenn is just beginning his third orbit... three-quarters of the way across the African continent.

We see he's currently over Zanzibar... which is the next tracking station coming up.

Thankfully, the F riendship 7 capsule is...

New assignment came down the pike.

Always changing around here.

It's hard to keep up.

Seems like they're going to need a permanent team to feed that IBM.

How big of a team?

Thirty, to start.

Thank you for the information, Mrs. Mitchell.

You're quite welcome, Mrs. Vaughan.


We have a warning light.

CAPCOM 7, I have a warning light.

Stand by, Seven.

Sir, we have a warning light.

What are we looking at, Paul?


The heat shield may have come loose.

Seven, will you confirm the landing bag is in the off position?

Affirmative, CAPCOM.

Al, we need to get him down now.

He could burn up on re-entry.

Come on, babies.

There is a man in space.

And we don't want to miss it, so we gotta hurry.

Something's wrong with Glenn!

What's going on? Come on, let's go.

Come on. Hurry up, now. Y'all follow me.

We just learned that the Friendship 7... is in danger of losing its heat shield.

Have you heard any banging noises... or anything of this type at higher rates?

That is a negative, CAPCOM.

This poses a grave danger to the mission.

Tell them not to jettison the retro-package.

NASA is confirming there is some sort of malfunction with the capsule's heat shield... and it may not stay in place.

If the heat shield's loose... the retro-package straps might hold it in place.

Will that work?

It will work.

It will hold it until he reaches the "Go/No-go" point.

It will work.

Al, he has to override the.05G.

Do it.

Friendship 7... we're recommending that the retro-package not...

I repeat, not be jettisoned.

This means that you will have to override the. 05G switch.


Is there a reason for this? Over.

Stand by, Seven.

Not at this time, Seven.

Roger that, Command.

I will make a manual.05G entry... and bring the scope in. Over.

He knows.

Without a heat shield... there is no way that Colonel Glenn can get back through the Earth's atmosphere.

The heat is simply too overpowering.

A malfunction in the automatic control system... is causing the spacecraft to yaw in a skid-like fashion.

Thus putting the Friendship 7's re-entry point in jeopardy.

Even now, Colonel Glenn is streaking toward the United States.

And he must begin the retro-sequence

300 miles west of California... if he's to reenter the atmosphere at the designated point... and land in the recovery area

700 miles south and east of Florida.

Stay tuned to this station for further details.

You're going to be using fly-by-wire for re-entry.

You'll need to maintain a zero angle, over.

Roger. I'm on fly-by-wire.

Back it up with manual. Over.

Keep talking to him.


The weather, the recovery area... three foot waves, 10 miles visibility.

CAPCOM, you're going out.

He's crossing the communication blackout zone.

There's a real fireball outside.

It's getting a little hot in here.

CAPCOM, do you copy?

Friendship 7, do you copy? Over.


Friendship 7, do you copy? Over.

Friendship 7, do you copy? Over.

Loud and clear, CAPCOM.

Roger that. How are you doing?

My condition is good. That was a real fireball. Boy!

Roger that.

Let's get you all the way home.

Roger that.

Here's hoping these landing coordinates still hold.

Approaching 16.11984.


Approaching minus 165.2356... in three, two, one.

Engaging chutes.

Beautiful chute!

How are we looking, CAPCOM?

Your "'Go/No-go" is good.

Landing coordinates are spot on, 7.

Roger that, CAPCOM.

I've always wanted to swim in the Bahamas. Over.

John Glenn has splashed down and he is being recovered.

Thank you!

John Glenn has splashed down safely... and is being recovered by the USS Noa.

Good job. Great job, guys.


Nice work.

You too, Mr. Harrison.

So, um... you think we can get to the moon?

We're already there, sir.


Thank you so much. Thank you.

Girls, this is Mrs. Vaughan... your supervisor.

She'll show you how things work.

Come on in.

The IBM 7090 data processing system... is capable of solving 24,000 multiplications per second.

They'll call it a mystery But we're gonna call it Victory We'll be writing history It's gonna be Victory They'll be signs on top of signs Just so you know the History It's saying victory Is with me Oh, let them laugh about it Don't worry what the doubter's saying Yes, it's an uphill battle But guess who else is playin '

The next time y'all in action And the ghost is in the room Watch you work through the masses You know that we've been used Don't let it be Don't let it be No matter how deep I swear just believe You'll find victory Find your victory They'll call it a mystery But we're gonna call it Victory We'll be writing history It's gonna be Victory They'll be signs on top of signs Just so you know the History It's saying victory

Is with me The Bible says you should pray for nothing

'Cause every week it's gonna be something You know the devil can't wait to jump in And complicate the things you trust in But I know my foundation Is solid and can take some hating Prayer's gon' be on this space station On the way to the master's apron They'll call it a mystery Victory We'll be writing history It's gon' be Victory It's saying victory Is with me



When I first got here I defined my way But the end of the days were dark When I was not clear You showed me my mistakes But told me keep the pace Don't get lost So should I not fear, yeah That's how it feels when you love me And you're my sightseer

'Cause before I'm in a rut You multiply by 10 times what they took from me You send out a branch from the longest tree When I'm in quicksand But in my mind it's really your arm to me Can't believe it, what a lift and hard to believe Surrender But there's a difference Surrender, surrender

'Cause I understand Explain to me There's no coincidence Just confirmation Let me see them hands I was down on myself And I called you And your answer is "What can I do?"

So much you do for me

In the sound of my breath seen all the years Of surrender Just know I'm here Reporting for duty When it feel this good Don't ever let go, go Don't ever let go, oh When it feel this good Don't ever let go, go Don't ever let go, oh Don't ever let go, oh Hard to believe Surrender but there's a difference Surrender, surrender

'Cause I understand Explain to me There's no coincidence Just confirmation Let me see them hands Please, just wave Wave, wave Wave, wave Wave In this place Just wave Wave Wave your hands Wave, wave

Try to understand the way I've been behaving It's a funny thing you really gotta see Is it just your love that's got me going crazy?

Or are my eyes playing with me

All day your love just comes shining down Just like the sweetest bees I feel you from my root to my crown It's mighty good to me Like caramel He's right beside me My mind's his carousel It's how he rides me So there's no parallels Y'all know me very well It's yellow lightning Try to understand the way I've been behaving It's a funny thing you really gotta see Is it just your love that's got me going crazy Or are my eyes playing with me Just like a mirage I love you like you were gold Just like a mirage I love you like you were gold Just like a mirage I love you like you were gold Gold, gold And I'm sorry, baby For the what ifs, maybes I've taken too far I know I must be looking crazy I'm sorry, baby For the what ifs, maybes I take it too far You know I must be looking crazy Try to understand the way I've been behaving It's a funny thing you really gotta see Is it just your love that's got me going crazy Or are my eyes playing with me

I spent many nights on my knees praying From the side effects of all this heat But I'm telling y'all it does feel amazing Or are my eyes playing with me