Rise of the Rocket Girls - Nathalia Holt

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The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars

The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space.

During World War II, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate jet velocities and plot missiles trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women - known as human computers - who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and helped bring about America's first ballistic missiles.

But they were never interested in developing weapons - their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the computers worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars and beyond.