Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died, at the age of 61, Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
A true American hero.
Ride was one of 8,000 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. As a result, she joined NASA in 1978.
During her career, Ride served as the ground-based Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the Space Shuttle’s robot arm. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. (She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982.) On STS-7, during which the five-person crew deployed two communications satellites and conducted pharmaceutical experiments, Ride was the first woman to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite.
Her second space flight was in 1984, also on board the Challenger. She spent a total of more than 343 hours in space.
Ride, who had completed eight months of training for her third flight when the Space Shuttle Challenger accident occurred, was named to the presidential commission investigating the accident and headed its subcommittee on operations. Following the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, where she led NASA’s first strategic planning effort, authored a report entitled “Leadership and America’s Future in Space”, and founded NASA’s Office of Exploration.
1983 aboard the Space Shuttle