Sally Ride

Sally Ride

Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut who, in 1983, became the first American woman and youngest American (at the time) to enter outer space. She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982).

Early life and education

Sally Ride was born in Los Angeles in 1951 , and is the oldest child of Carol Joyce (née Anderson) and Dale Burdell Ride. She is of Norwegian ancestry. Sally has a sister named Karen "Bearful" Ride, who became a Presbyterian minister. Dr. Ride attended Portola Middle School and Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles (now Harvard-Westlake School) on a scholarship, where she played tennis. In addition to being interested in science she was a nationally ranked tennis player. She initially attended Swarthmore College but received her bachelor's degrees (in English and physics) from Stanford University near Palo Alto, California. She then received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in physics at the same institution, while doing research in astrophysics and free-electron laser physics.

NASA career

Ride was one of 8,900 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. As a result, Ride joined NASA in 1978. During her career, Sally was the 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 crewmember on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. On STS-7, the 5-person crew deployed two communications satellites, conducted pharmaceutical experiments, and was the first 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 has cumulatively spent more than 343 hours in space. Ride was 8 months into training for her third flight at the time of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. She was named to the Presidential Commission investigating the accident, and headed its Subcommittee on Operations. After the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. There she led NASA's first strategic planning effort, authoring a report entitled "Leadership and America's Future in Space", and founded NASA's Office of Exploration. Ride married fellow NASA Astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982, but the two divorced in 1987.

After NASA

In 1987, Ride left to work at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego and Director of the California Space Institute. In 2003, she was asked to serve on the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board. She is currently on leave from the university, and is the President and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded in 2001, that creates entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students, with a particular focus on girls.

Ride has written or co-written multiple books on space, aimed at children with the goal of encouraging children to study science.

Awards and honors

Ride has received numerous honors and awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the von Braun Award, the Lindbergh Eagle, and the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, and the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and has twice been awarded the National Spaceflight Medal. Ride is the only person to serve on both of the panels investigating Shuttle accidents (those for the Challenger accident and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster). Two elementary schools in the United States are named after her: Sally K. Ride Elementary School in The Woodlands, Texas, and Sally K. Ride Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland.

On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Ride into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.



External links

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