There is come controversy as to which historical person may have served as an inspiration for Margo Madison. According to show's co-creator Ronald D. Moore, Madison’s character is not based on either of the two most well-known women working as NASA engineers at the time, Poppy Northcutt (who is briefly mentioned in the first episode) and JoAnn Morgan. Instead, Madison was inspired by the subject of a famous photo. Judging from Moore’s description, the photo is of Margaret Hamilton, one of the MIT programmers for NASA’s Apollo Guidance Computer. “I decided that she would be one of our characters,” Moore says. “I never even looked into who she was, but there was something inspiring about this young woman working at NASA at that time.”Nevertheless, during a promotional interview with the show's lead actors, the host asks Wrenn Schmidt, the actress portraying Margo Madison (at ~ 14:00):
Wrenn, you get to play a really awesome character [...] who has a real-world counterpart, you know - Frances [Poppy] Northcutt was the first female in the control room, think it was with Apollo 8to which the actress raises no objection.
A possibly additional nod toward Poppy Nortcutt comes very early in the series: in the very first episode (SE01E01), at about 11:30, Margo stumbles upon a blonde young woman on her way to the control room, and greets her as "Morning, Poppy":