Sally Ride was the first American woman astronaut to fly in space. Aside from being an astronaut Ms. Ride inspires children by writing science books about space exploration and being a devoted teacher.
Top Five Facts About Sally Ride
Sally Ride was not only the first American woman in outer space but also the youngest astronaut.
Sally Ride wrote children’s books about space exploration to inspire children particularly young girls.
She was a tennis player before she became a physicist.
She started NASA's Earthkam project where middle school students are allowed to take pictures of the earth from space.
Sally Ride was in NASA’s Astronaut Hall of Fame
Inspirational Quotes from Sally Ride
“Weightless is a great equalizer.”
“To have the opportunity to be part of the solution is a rewarding work.”
“If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys.”
“The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter.”
“When you are getting ready to launch into space, you are sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.”
Biography of Sally Ride
Sally’s fascination with science began early in life and this led her to what she would become later in life. She was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles San Fernando Valley. When she was a child, Sally loved to play with a chemistry kit and a telescope.
During her junior year, she excelled in tennis and even competed in national tournaments. That’s why most people called her a tennis player who turned physicist. In 1973, she earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and English from Stanford University and finished her Master's Degree in 1975.
While she was studying Ph.D. in the same school, she saw an ad in the newspaper looking for scientists and engineers at NASA. She immediately grabbed the opportunity and applied for the position. She was one of the six women applicants who qualified for the job in NASA and finished her PhD in 1978.
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Sally’s Journey to Becoming an Astronaut
The defining moment for Sally Ride was when she was chosen as one of the astronauts to fly in space. Sally Ride was not only the first woman to fly in space, but she was also the youngest among her male counterparts.
On June 18, 1983, NASA launched the Challenger on a space shuttle with Sally on board. She was 32 years old and was the first American woman astronaut to fly in space. Her job at the Challenger was to work on the robotic arm which would put a satellite into space. Sally flew again in space in 1984.
Life After NASA
Ride found her other passions in teaching and writing science books for children. In 1987, she decided to leave NASA to pursue these passions. She became a dedicated teacher at the University of California in San Diego.
In 2001, she established her own company that offered educational programs and products by the name Sally Ride Science. Sally acted as the president and CEO of the company. With this program, Sally was able to help women and girls who wanted to study science and mathematics.
Her idea for NASA’s Earthkam showed how she valued educating young minds about space. The project allowed middle school students to use a camera to take pictures of the earth in the International Space Station.
Ride married a fellow astronaut Steve Hawley. They were together from 1982 to 1987. Hawley said that Sally was never comfortable being in the spotlight. However, she used her celebrity status as an opportunity to encourage children, particularly young girls to achieve what they want to become in life.
Death and Legacy
Sally received many awards and honors because of her contributions to the science field and space exploration. In 2003 Ride became one of the notable names in NASA’s Astronaut Hall of Fame. She also received the National Women’s Hall of fame, NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award, and the NASA Space Slight Medal.
One of the most notable legacies of Sally Ride was allowing middle school students to take pictures of the earth in the EarthKam project. The students use the camera aboard the spacecraft of NASA’s twin Grail. The head of the Grail mission and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maria Zuber said that what Sally did was extraordinarily admirable and that she devoted her life to education and to inspire young people.
Sally died on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61 in her home in San Diego. The former US president Barrack Obama honored Sally Ride and said that she was a national hero and a powerful role model. He also said that she inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars. Indeed, Sally was an inspiration to young girls.
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