Gallery: The amazing women behind Hidden Figures who made the US space program possible

​From life to a book to the screen

The movie Hidden Figures, due for limited theatrical release on Christmas Day this year with wider release January 7th, tells the story of a team of black female mathematicians who were integral in the launch of the US space program. Without them history may have recorded the earliest days of space exploration very differently.

These "human computers," as NASA called them, helped the US go from lagging behind the Russians to performing the first complete orbit of earth--but their names still go unremembered, unlike high-profile aerospace heroes such as John Glenn.

Based on a 2016 book by author Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures explores the role of human computers at NASA through the eyes of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. But what was it these amazing women did?

Also see: How a NASA team of black women 'computers' sent an astronaut into orbit in 1962 and TechRepublic's video interview with Margot Lee Shetterly

Image: Fox Movies

By Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.