Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died this morning after a seventeen month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61.
Dr. Ride was born in Los Angeles in 1951 and received degrees in English, physics, and astrophysics. When NASA allowed women to apply for the astronaut program in 1977, Dr. Ride applied and was accepted in 1978. In 1983, Dr. Ride became the first American women to enter space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger and went into space again in 1984.
Ultimately, her 1984 trip into space would be her last. The Space Program was halted after the 1986 explosion of the Challenger. After assisting with the investigation of the Challenger disaster, Dr. Ride retired from NASA in 1987. After leaving NASA, Dr. Ride went on to teach at Stanford University and then the University of California, San Diego. In 2001, she founded the Sally Ride Science, a company that develops educational programs in science, technology, engineering, and math for children in grade K-12. Since leaving NASA, she has returned on a number of occasions and has won numerous awards.
Dr. Ride leaves behind her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, as well as her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; and her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science. She has been an inspiration to women and girls around the world and will be remembered for her many accomplishments.