NWHM is saddened by the passing of trailblazing astronaut Sally Ride. Ride was an inspiration for many young girls and women in the country and abroad and she was also a friend of the Museum and our first spokesperson.
At a time when careers in space were dominated by men, Ride blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983. At 32 years old, she became the first American woman to enter space. Since then, 42 other American women have flown in space.
Ride passed on Monday at her home in the San Diego community of La Jolla. She was 61 years old and had battled pancreatic cancer for the last 17 months.
Ride’s groundbreaking journey into space began back in 1977, when she answered a newspaper ad placed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Realizing that technological and scientific skills were as important to the future of the Space Program as good pilots, NASA began a search for young scientists to serve as “mission specialists” on future space flights. She was one of only five women selected for NASA’s class of ’78. Her natural athletic ability was an incredible asset as she trained with NASA in 1977. Parachute jumping and water survival training accompanied her technical and scientific instruction. On June 18, 1983 the space shuttle Challenger was launched for the six-day mission STS-7. Ride was one of the five crewmembers aboard, becoming the first American woman in space.
NWHM sends its heartfelt condolences to Dr. Sally Ride’s family. Her work and life achievement serve as an inspiration to us and we will continue to tell her story to future generations.