This is Melba Roy Mouton Assistant Chief of Research Programmes at NASA’s Trajectory and Geodynamics Division. Initially a mathematician she worked her way up through the company working as a Head Computer Programmer and then Programme Production Section Chief at Goddard Space Flight Centre.
Melba graduated from Howard university in 1950, a black college and safe haven for students of colour who were terrorized at other institutions. Howard has had an open race & gender policy since its inception. In 1959 she started working at NASA where she was head mathematician for Echo Satellites 1 and 2.
In 1961 Melba got promoted to Head Programmer in charge for the team that determines aircraft orbits in space. Here she designed computer programmes in order to predict aircraft locations and trajectories. These programmes allowed NASA to track aircraft in space. By 1972 Melba had been promoted to Assistant Chief of Research Programmes, Trajectory and Geodynamics Division.