Sally Ride was first female American Astronaut and is widely known for her contribution to the field of Science and Technology. Born in 1951, she passed away in 2012 at a relatively young age due to pancreatic cancer. Below are some of the fascinating things about her.
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space in 1983. She still holds that record. Since her history-making flight, 39 female NASA astronauts have followed her into space, including shuttle commanders and an International Space Station commander.
She also holds the records of being the youngest American astronaut to travel to space. She was 32 when she made her debut space trip.
Ride is the first known LGBT astronaut. Her relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy remained a secret and was revealed only upon her death. In fact, she was married to another astronaut Steven Hawley for 5 years (1982-1987).
She was one of the lead investigators of Space Shuttle Challenger accident.She served as a member of the Presidential Commission investigating the accident. She was the only public figure who had supported Roger Boisjoly, an engineer who had warned of the accident. Upon completion of the investigation, she was assigned to NASA Headquarters as Special Assistant to the Administrator for long-range and strategic planning.
In 1989, she joined 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 co-founded Sally Ride Science, a company which encouraged young girls and women to take science as career option. It created entertaining science programs and publications for school students and their parents and teachers.
She has written 5 science books for children: To Space and Back; Voyager; The Third Planet; The Mystery of Mars and Exploring Our Solar System.