- Home ›
- Quotes tagged “NASA”
Quotes tagged “NASA”
Katherine Johnson: Yes, baby?
Constance Johnson: Are the Russians fixing to attack us?
Katherine Johnson: Where did you get that from?
Joylette Johnson: We had to hide under our desks today, all scrunched up.
Katherine Johnson: 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.
Constance Johnson: You going to space, too?
Katherine Johnson: No, baby. But I’m going to do what I can to help those brave men get there. Yes, I am.
Kathy Johnson: You could fly up to space if you wanted to, Mama. You could be an astronaut.”
Dorothy Vaughan: I haven’t been late one day in ten years. Haven’t been out sick. Haven’t complained. My work’s on time. It’s done right, it’s done well.
Mary Jackson: It’s not fair, that’s a fact.
Dorothy Vaughan: What’s not fair is having the responsibility of a supervisor, but not the title or the pay. And 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.
Katherine Johnson: 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.
Dorothy Vaughan: 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?
Mary Jackson: A mean old salty one.
Katherine Johnson: Riddled with authority, no question.
[Katherine and Mary laugh]
Dorothy Vaughan: You don’t mess with Mrs. Vaughan.
Mary Jackson: Turn that music up.”
Al Harrison: Just to be clear in fourteen 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 going matter. It’s gonna matter to their wives, to their children. I believe it’s going matter to the whole damn country. So this Space Task Group will be as advertised. America’s greatest engineering and scientific minds are not going to have a problem with having their work checked. Are they, Paul?
Paul Stafford: No, sir.
Al Harrison: Good. So let’s have an amen, damn it.
NASA Worker: Amen. Amen!
Al Harrison: All right.”
Ruth: She’s right behind you, Mr. Harrison.
[he turns and sees Katherine]
Al Harrison: Does she handle Analytic Geometry?
Ruth: Absolutely, and she speaks.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir, I do.
Al Harrison: Which one?
Katherine Johnson: Both. Geometry and speaking.
Al Harrison: Ruth, get me the…
[Ruth hands him a piece of paper]
Al Harrison: You think you, uh, you think you can find me the Frenet Frame for this data using the Gram-Schmidt…
Katherine Johnson: Orthogonalization algorithm. Yes, sir. I prefer it over Euclidean coordinates.
Al Harrison: Okay, good. Good, then I’m going to need it by the end of the day.
Katherine Johnson: Yes.
Al Harrison: I’m also going to ask you to check Mr. Stafford’s math as well as others’ on this floor from time to time.
Paul Stafford: I can, I can handle that, Al.
Al Harrison: 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?”
Mary Jackson: Flat head rivets would reduce wind drag.
Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with engineer’s mind should be an engineer. You can’t be a computer the rest of your life.
Mary Jackson: Mr. Zielinski, I’m a Negro woman. I’m not going to entertain the impossible.
Karl Zielinski: 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?
Mary Jackson: I wouldn’t have to, I’d already be one.”
Vivian Mitchell: Yes. Well, the official word is no. They’re not assigning a permanent supervisor for the colored group.
Dorothy Vaughan: May I ask why?
Vivian Mitchell: I don’t know why. I didn’t ask why.
Dorothy Vaughan: We need a supervisor, ma’am. We haven’t had one since Miss Jansen got sick. It’s been almost a year.
Vivian Mitchell: Things are working just fine as-is.
Dorothy Vaughan: I’m doing the work of a supervisor.
Vivian Mitchell: 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.”
Dorothy Vaughan: Permanent or temp?
Vivian Mitchell: Everything’s temporary, Dorothy. You have someone?
Dorothy Vaughan: Yes, ma’am. Katherine’s the gal for that. She can handle any numbers you put in front of her.
Vivian Mitchell: I’ll check her credentials [she turns to leave] Didn’t think I’d come all the way down here.”
Al Harrison: How did that feel in there, Paul? You think you enlightened the administrator? Hm? No, he didn’t look enlightened to me. He look enlightened to you, Sam?
Sam Turner: Not particularly.
Al Harrison: 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?
Ruth: Any day now, Mr. Harrison.
Al Harrison: Any day now.
Ruth: Yes, sir.
Al Harrison: What’s it called? The initials?
Ruth: The IBM.
Paul Stafford: International Business Machines.
Al Harrison: Space is a business. I need a mathematician.
Ruth: I’ll put in another request, sir.
Al Harrison: Another request. Jesus Christ. We don’t have a single person in this entire building that can handle analytic geometry?
Ruth: That’s what I’ve been told.
Al Harrison: Tell me something else, Ruth, like we’re going to find such a person before the Russians plant a flag on the damn moon.”
Paul Stafford: Well, that’s a pretty big jump, sir.
Jim Webb: What?
Paul Stafford: Just that, that…
Jim Webb: Who the hell is he?
Al Harrison: 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.
Jim Webb: 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.”
Mary Jackson: Girls.
Dorothy Vaughan: No crime in a broken-down car.
Mary Jackson: No crime being Negro neither.
Katherine Johnson: Button it up, Mary. Nobody wants to go to jail behind your mouth.
Mary Jackson: I’ll do my best, sugar.
[the cop car pulls up by them and get out of his vehicle]
White Cop: Not a great place for three of y’all be having car trouble.
Mary Jackson: We didn’t pick the place, Officer. It picked us.
White Cop: Are you being disrespectful?
Mary Jackson: No, sir.
White Cop: You have identification on you?
Mary Jackson: Yes, sir.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir. We’re just on our way to work at Langley. NASA, sir.
[all three show him their IDs]
Dorothy Vaughan: We do a great deal of the calculating, getting our rockets into space.
White Cop: All three of you?
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir.
Mary Jackson: Yes, Officer.
[he takes Mary’s ID and looks at it]
White Cop: NASA, now that’s something. I had no idea they hired…
Dorothy Vaughan: There are quite a few women working in the space program.”
Dr. Holly Goodhead: No. Vassar.”
About The Authors
This page was created by our editorial team. Each page is manually curated, researched, collected, and issued by our staff writers. Quotes contained on this page have been double checked for their citations, their accuracy and the impact it will have on our readers.
Kelly Peacock is an accomplished poet and social media expert based in Brooklyn, New York. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree in creative writing from Farieligh Dickinson University and has contributed to many literary and cultural publications. Kelly assists on a wide variety of quote inputting and social media functions for Quote Catalog. Visit her personal website here.
Kendra Syrdal is a writer, editor, partner, and senior publisher for The Thought & Expression Company. Over the last few years she has been personally responsible for writing, editing, and producing over 30+ million pageviews on Thought Catalog.