She also inspired young people, especially girls, across the world to reach for the stars. Copyright © 2020 Facts Just for Kids.

Her parents recognized this early interest as well and supplied their young daughter with a chemistry set and telescope. Her parents soon recognized and encouraged their first daughter’s early athletic prowess.

That same year, Sally Ride retired from NASA. With her postdoc complete in 1989, Sally Ride accepted a professorship at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) where she not only taught but also researched bow shocks, the shock wave resulting from stellar wind colliding with another medium. She was also the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Lindberg Eagle, the von Braun Award, NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award, and the National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, left a legacy of science and space exploration for Americans to honor. Also in 1982, she married fellow astronaut Steve Hawley.

Janet Ogle-Mater is a writer specializing in history and biography.

She then enrolled at Stanford University and graduated in 1973 with bachelor degrees in both English and Physics. When the space shuttle Columbia launched on January 16, 2003, a piece of foam broke off and struck the shuttle’s wing.

She was the only person to serve on both space shuttle accident investigation commissions. A year later the program was installed on the International Space Station where on a typical mission, more than 100 schools participate and 1500 photographs are taken of the Earth and its atmospheric conditions.

Sally Ride was a part of two human spaceflight missions, STS-7 and STS-41-G. Sally Ride died on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Seconds after lift-off, with thousands of Americans watching, the Challenger exploded into fragments in the air. She was researching and teaching physics at UCSD when another shuttle disaster brought her temporarily back to NASA. A photo of Sally Ride Speaking at First National Summit on the Advancement of Girls in Math and Science.

She moved to Washington D.C. to NASA headquarters to work in the new Office of Exploration and Office of Strategic Planning as a Special Assistant to the Administrator.

Kathryn (Kate) D. Sullivan was part of the crew, placing two American women in space for the first time.

While the Cold War was waning, she studied the banning of nuclear weapons. A photo of Sally Ride, a Mission Specialist on the flight deck of the STS-7 Space Shuttle mission. Mission STS-41G was the 13th time a shuttle had flown into space and was the first flight with a crew of seven. Ride was the communications officer relaying messages from mission control to the space shuttle crew of the Columbia for the second mission, STS-2, in 1981, and again for the STS-3 mission in 1982. Sally Ride was married to fellow astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982, they got a divorce in 1987.

Sally Ride was asked by NASA to join the panel of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board to look into the cause of this second shuttle tragedy. Sally Ride is also the youngest American astronaut to ever travel into outer space at the age of 32.

All seven on board were killed, four of whom were from Sally Ride’s 1977 training class. Sally Ride came home to fanfare from both the press and the public. Sally Ride retired from NASA on August 15, 1987.

After 15 months with the company, Sally Ride set her sights on a project to specifically encourage girls to seek out careers in science.

Then, in 1987, Sally Ride produced “Leadership and America’s Future in Space: A Report to the Administrator," commonly known as the Ride Report, detailing suggested future focuses for NASA.

By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, The Life of Guion "Guy" Bluford: NASA Astronaut, Astronaut Dick Scobee, One of the Challenger 7, They Never Became Astronauts: The Story of the Mercury 13, Valentina Tereshkova: The First Woman in Space, Biography of Judith Resnik, Second American Woman in Space, Christa McAuliffe: First NASA Teacher in Space Astronaut, 16 Black Americans in Astronomy and Space, Dr. Mae C. Jemison: Astronaut and Visionary, “Leadership and America’s Future in Space: A Report to the Administrator. Through space camps, science festivals, books on exciting scientific careers, and innovative classroom materials for teachers, Sally Ride Science continues to inspire young girls, as well as boys, to pursue careers in the field. Sally Ride died on Monday, July 23rd, 2012 in La Jolla, California, USA. She helped develop the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), a robotic arm, and became proficient at its use. She has co-authored two community history books, including “Chelsea's 175th Anniversary: 1834-2009.”, ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Sixteen months later, on October 5, 1984, Sally Ride rode into space again on the Challenger. It also held other firsts for women astronauts.

Along with hours of in-classroom instruction learning every aspect of the shuttle, Sally Ride also logged numerous hours in the shuttle simulator. Sally Ride was in charge of launching and retrieving satellites with the RMS robotic arm, the first time it was used in such an operation on a mission. A pioneer of the final frontier, she charted a new course for Americans to follow, not only into the country’s space program, but by inspiring young people, especially girls, to careers in science, math, and engineering. Sally Ride was a professor at the University of California in San Diego, she taught physics. On January 28, 1986, a seven-person crew, including the first civilian headed to space, teacher Christa McAuliffe, took their seats inside the Challenger. 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. As before, this mission included the launch of satellites along with scientific experiments and observations of Earth.

She returned to Stanford University to complete a postdoc at the Center for International Security and Arms Control. Sally Ride was 1 of 35 people selected to join NASA in the 1978 NASA Astronaut Group 8. Sally Ride garnered a number of honors and awards throughout her outstanding career.

By the summer of 1979, Sally Ride had completed her astronaut training, which included parachute jumping, water survival, radio communications, and flying jets.

She received her Ph.D. in astrophysics that same year, 1978, and began training and evaluation courses for NASA. As the Internet was growing in everyday use in 1999, she became president of an online company called, which highlights scientific news for those interested in space.
On board STS-7 were four other astronauts: Captain Robert L. Crippen, the spacecraft commander; Captain Frederick H. Hauck, the pilot; and two other Mission Specialists, Colonel John M. Fabian and Dr. Norman E. Thagard. Their investigation found the main cause of the explosion was due to the destruction of the seals in the right rocket motor, which allowed hot gasses to leak through the joints and weaken the external tank. Sally Ride was a sports fan at a young age, reading the sports page by the age of five.

In a space agency filled with trailblazers, Sally K. Ride was a pioneer of a different sort.

Ride and five other women had been selected in 1978 for NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first American selection class to include females.

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