Astronaut Sally Ride dies at age 61

Sally Ride - Credit:

(Best Syndication News) - Sally Ride died at her home in San Diego this Monday after battling pancreatic cancer for the last 17-months. Ride was the first US woman astronaut to travel into space. She travelled twice on the Challenger; the first time was on June 18, 1983 and a second time was October 5, 1984.

Ride was born in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley on May 26, 1951. Growing up in Encino, she loved Science and later studied Physics and English at Stanford University.

She was almost finished with her Ph.D. in physics when she saw an ad looking to hire astronauts. This was the first time that NASA was recruiting astronauts that were not just military test pilots. There were over 8,000 applicants and only 35 people were chosen. Ride was picked along with 5 other women and 29 men to take part in the 1978 astronaut class.

She was married to astronaut Steve Hawley between 1982 and 1987.

Hawley said in a statement, “Sally was a very private person who found herself a very public persona. It was a role in which she was never fully comfortable. I was privileged to be a part of her life and be in a position to support her as she became the first American woman to fly in space.”

In 1987, Sally retired from NASA. In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California San Diego and a director of the California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, a company that encourages young girls and boys to pursue science, math, and engineering career interests. She also co-authored several books with Tam Shaughnessy who has been reported as being her partner for the last 27 years.

Ride has received a number of awards and recognition for her accomplishments. Her last award was in 2012 and was the National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award.

President Obama also made a statement on Ride’s passing. President Obama said, “Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride. As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools. Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sally’s family and friends.”

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, "Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism -- and literally changed the face of America's space program. 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."

By: Julie Marcus
Science and Technology Writer

ref: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6



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