Mary Golda Ross was the first known Native American (Cherokee Nation) female engineer and the first female engineer in the history of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Ross began her career by working on the P-38 Lightning fighter plane. She was later asked to be one of the 40 founding engineers of the renowned and highly secretive Skunk Works project at Lockheed.
Ross helped write NASA’s Planetary Flight Handbook, the agency’s space travel guide and contributed to planning for flights to Mars.
After retiring from Lockheed in 1973, Ross dedicated the rest of her life to advocacy for Native Americans, including making opportunities for the next generation of engineers from the community. When she died, Ross left a substantial donation to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
“Much of Ross’s work will never be known because it was—and still is—classified,” The Smithsonian
Let us know what you think of our stories by leaving a comment.