Patricia Palombo started work in 1959 for IBM as a computer programmer. She was assigned to Project Mercury, NASA's first program for manned sub-orbital and orbital flight. Patricia was part of a programming team that solved the unique problems presented by the real-time tracking requirements for the Mercury mission. The output of this team was the IBM Launch Monitor Subsystem and the Real-Time Monitoring Programming System. Eight Project Mercury launches were successfully supported by the IBM systems. One of these launches was the historic 'First Man in Space', Alan Sheppard's Mercury Redstone-3 flight.
Patricia worked on the re-entry phase, which extended from retro-rocket firing until the spacecraft landing. She wrote the re-entry program, which defines the present position, time to impact, and refined impact point. The real-time computer requirements and the stringent accuracy and reliability necessary made this project one of the most demanding data processing problems ever undertaken at that time (early 1960s).
Patricia continued her career in complex computer systems and is still actively working today (December, 2005).