RIP Sally Ride, first American woman in space.
Ride flew into orbit aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 to become America’s first woman in space. She took a second trip aboard the same shuttle one year later.
The first woman in space was Soviet astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, who orbited the earth 48 times in 1963.
“As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” President Barack Obama said soon after news of her death broke. “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.”
A Los Angeles native, Ride attended Stanford University, where she earned four degrees including a doctorate in physics, according to NASA. She joined the agency as part of the class of 1978, the first to include women.
Alan A adds:
Sally Ride, who died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was the first female U.S. astronaut in space and became friends with Tam O’Shaugnessy at the age of 12. It was not until today, however — nearly 50 years after meeting — that their 27-year romantic relationship was made public.
The pioneering scientist was, a statement from Sally Ride Science announced, survived by “Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years.”
With that simple statement — listed alongside her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin and nephew, Whitney — Ride came out.