Dr. Sally Ride (1951 – 2012)
NASA announced today the passing of notable astronaut Sally Ride. In 1983, Ride was the first american woman to travel into space. In a NASA press release NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated:
“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America’s space program.” Bolden also stated: “The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally’s family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly.”
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver added, “Sally was a personal and professional role model to me and thousands of women around the world. Her spirit and determination will continue to be an inspiration for women everywhere.”
Regarding her place in history, Ride stated, “The fact that I was going to be the first American woman to go into space carried huge expectations along with it. That was made pretty clear the day that I was told I was selected as a crew. I was taken up to Chris Kraft’s office. He wanted to have a chat with me and make sure I knew what I was getting into before I went on the crew. I was so dazzled to be on the crew and go into space I remembered very little of what he said.”
Following her historic flight, Ride returned to space on shuttle mission STS-41G in 1984. Ride had been assigned to a third shuttle mission, however she joined the Challenger accident investigation team in 1986. After the Challenger investigation, Ride then accepted a job as a special assistant to the NASA administrator for long range and strategic planning.
Ride left NASA in 1989 to join the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, as a professor of physics and director of the University of California’s California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, to pursue her long-time passion of motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology.
Born in Los Angeles, Ride graduated from High School in 1968 and attended Stanford University where she completed her Doctorate in physics in 1978. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, educator Tam O’Shaughnessy, her mother, sister, niece, and nephew.
If you’d like to learn more about Sally Ride Science, visit: https://www.sallyridescience.com/
Source: NASA Press Release