Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008) was a mathematician and engineer who helped develop the technology that launched the U.S. into space.
A member of the Cherokee Nation, Ross got a master’s degree before joining Lockheed Corporation as the company’s first female engineer. She was an aerospace designer on its renowned “Skunk Works” team. We still don’t know the extent of her work—much of it remains classified. But we know that she was the only woman, apart from the secretary, and the only Native American on the Lockheed team.
Ross also developed early ideas for flights to Mars and Venus, laying a foundation for missions still to come.