Sally Ride, First U.S. Woman In Space, Dies At 61

Sally Ride America's first woman astronaut communicates with ground controllers from the flight deck during the six day mission of the Challenger. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Sally Ride, the first female astronaut in the U.S. space program, has died from pancreatic cancer. She was 61.

Ride started training to be an astronaut in 1978, after she already had a doctorate in physics.

On June 18, 1983, she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, becoming the first American woman to go into orbit. A year later, she flew again on the Challenger.

NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown read a memorial statement on behalf of  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden:

“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism and literally changed the face of America’s space program. 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.”

After the Challenger explosion in 1986, Ride served on the commission that investigated the accident.

Dr Sally Ride
Dr. Sally Ride in 2005

She left the agency in 1989 to teach at the University of California, San Diego. She also worked on the investigation into the Columbia accident in 2003.

Ride encouraged girls to pursue careers in science and math. She eventually founded her own educational company, Sally Ride Science. It produces science materials for grades K through 12.

From the KUHF Health and Science Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

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Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...