NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Yvonne Brill, a Winnipeg born rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from falling out of orbit, has died.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Brill passed away on Wednesday in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 88.

The rocket system she developed in the early 1970's became the industry standard, and it was the achievement that U.S. President Obama mentioned in 2011 in presenting Brill with America's National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

In 1980, Harper's Bazaar magazine and the DeBeers Corporation gave the pioneering scientist their Diamond Superwoman award for returning to a successful career after starting a family.

Brill is believed to have been the only woman in the United States who was actually doing rocket science in the mid-1940s, when she worked on the first designs for an American satellite.

From 1981 to 1983, Brill worked for NASA developing the rocket motor for the space shuttle, and in 2010 she was inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame.