… those who worked with her or heard about her.
Ralph Neiman, her department head in 1979, acknowledged those skills in a commendation he recommended for West, project manager for the Seasat radar altimetry project. Launched in 1978, Seasat was the first satellite designed for remote sensing of oceans with synthetic aperture radar.
In a 2017 message about Black History Month, Capt. Godfrey Weekes, then-commanding officer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, described the “integral role” played by West.
“She rose through the ranks, worked on the satellite geodesy [science that measures the size and shape of Earth] and contributed to the accuracy of GPS and the measurement of satellite data,” he wrote. “As Gladys West started her career as a mathematician at Dahlgren in 1956, she likely had no idea that her work would impact the world for decades to come.”
“I was ecstatic,” she said. “I was able to come from Dinwiddie County and be able to work with some of the greatest scientists working on these projects.”