If that wasn't enough, she was also the first African American woman to desegregate the graduate school at West Virginia University in 1938. At NASA, she and her other African American coworkers faced racism as part of the "colored computing pool", which was later disbanded. After finally being able to work as an aerospace technologist, she successfully calculated the trajectory for the first American in Space, Alan Shepard, as well as the launch window for the 1961 Mercury mission. She was so important that John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth, refused to fly unless Katherine verified the calculations. She also calculated the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon and even worked on the Space Shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite, and the mission to Mars.