[amsat-bb] Sally Ride
clintbradford at mac.com
Mon Jul 23 15:02:36 PDT 2012
July 23, 2012
david.s.weaver at nasa.gov
NASA OFFERS CONDOLENCES ON THE PASSING OF PIONEERING ASTRONAUT SALLY RIDE
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
"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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