[amsat-bb] Sally Ride

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Mon Jul 23 15:02:36 PDT 2012

July 23, 2012

David Weaver 
Headquarters, Washington   
david.s.weaver at nasa.gov 

RELEASE: 12-252


WASHINGTON -- In a space agency filled with trailblazers, Sally K. 
Ride was a pioneer of a different sort. The soft-spoken California 
physicist broke the gender barrier 29 years ago when she rode to 
orbit aboard space shuttle Challenger to become America's first woman 
in space. 

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

"Sally was a personal and professional role model to me and thousands 
of women around the world," said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori 
Garver. "Her spirit and determination will continue to be an 
inspiration for women everywhere." 

Ride's contribution to America's space program continued right up 
until her death at age 61 this week. After two trips to orbit aboard 
the shuttle, she went on to an award-winning academic career at the 
University of California, San Diego, where her expertise and wisdom 
were widely sought on matters related to space. She holds the 
distinction of being the only person to serve as a member of both 
investigation boards following NASA's two space shuttle accidents. 
She also served as a member of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight 
Plans Committee in 2009 which informed many of the decisions about 
NASA's current human spaceflight programs. 

However, Ride's place in history was assured on June 18, 1983 when she 
rocketed into space on Challenger's STS-7 mission with four male 

"The fact that I was going to be the first American woman to go into 
space carried huge expectations along with it," Ride recalled in an 
interview for the 25th anniversary of her flight in 2008. "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." 

"On launch day, there was so much excitement and so much happening 
around us in crew quarters, even on the way to the launch pad," Ride 
said. "I didn't really think about it that much at the time -- but I 
came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the 
first to get a chance to go into space." 

Ride joined NASA as part of the 1978 astronaut class, the first to 
include women. She and five other women, along with 29 men, were 
selected out of 8,000 applicants. The class became known as the 
"Thirty-Five New Guys" and reported to the Johnson Space Center the 
next summer to begin training. Ride trained for five years before she 
and three of her classmates were assigned to STS-7. The six-day 
mission deployed two communications satellites and performed a number 
of science experiments. 

Following that historic flight, Ride returned to space on another 
shuttle mission, STS-41G in 1984. The 8-day mission deployed the 
Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, conducted scientific observations 
of Earth, and demonstrated potential satellite refueling techniques. 
She was assigned to a third flight, but transitioned to a role on the 
Rogers Commission that investigated the Challenger accident after 
that shuttle was lost in January 1986. When the investigation was 
completed, she 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. 

A native of Los Angeles, Ride graduated from high school there in 1968 
and enrolled at Stanford University. At Stanford, she earned four 
degrees, including a doctorate in physics in 1978. She also was an 
accomplished athlete who played varsity tennis at Stanford after 
being nationally ranked as a youth. 

Ride received numerous honors and awards during the course of her 
career. Most notably, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall 
of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and received the Jefferson 
Award for Public Service, the von Braun Award, the Lindbergh Eagle, 
and the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award. 


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