Celebrate Sally Ride, The First Woman To Travel To Space

Sally Ride was a Los Angeles-born physicist and astronaut, and successfully joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. At the age of 32, she is the youngest to have ever traveled to space, and today, May 26th, Google Doodle honored the late astronaut. Today is also her 64th birthday.

Sally Ride was just one of the several thousand people who replied to an ad she had found in the Stanford student newspaper, which was searching for eligible candidates for the space program, and Ride was fortunate enough to win the opportunity to join NASA in 1978. In the span of her space exploration career, Ride performed duties as not only the ground-based capsule communicator, called CapCom, for the 2nd and 3rd space shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) she was also helpful in developing the space shuttle’s robot arm.

Celebrate Sally Ride, The First Woman To Travel To Space - Clapway

First Woman In Space

Before she ever left Earth’s atmosphere in her first space flight, Sally Ride received scrutinizing media attention because she was a woman. While in the middle of a press conference, Ride dealt with questions like how the journey may have an affect her reproductive organs and whether or not she cries under pressure. But Ride was ultimately never phased by this, and viewed herself as nothing more and nothing less than an astronaut. On June 18, 1983 was when she became a crew member on the Challenger space shuttle for STS-7, the first American woman to do so. This 5 person crew deployed 2 communications satellites and underwent experiments involving pharmaceuticals. In addition, Ride was the first woman to operate the robot arm in space as well as the first to use it to retrieve a satellite.

Her 2nd space flight, in 1984, had her in space for more than 343 hours.

Sally Ride’s Life After NASA

In 1987, she began working at Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. 2 years later she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the California Space Institute. She was the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, became the author/co-author of 7 books, and endorsed Barack Obama in 2008. She passed away in 2012 due to pancreatic cancer.