Years later, when a child asked her what made her decide to be a scientist instead of a tennis player, she laughed and said, “A bad forehand.”. [24], After Ride's death, her obituary revealed that her partner of 27 years was Tam O'Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and childhood friend, who met her when both were aspiring tennis players. Ride worked for two years at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics, primarily researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering. She was 61. After graduating from high school in 1968, Dr. Ride attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania but quit after three semesters. [3] In addition to being interested in science, she was a nationally ranked tennis player. From an early age, Dr. Ride gravitated toward math and science. Here are some tributes to Sally Ride from astronauts, scientists, historians, industry officials and … But there were still rough spots. By the time she began studying laser physics at Stanford, women had already broken through into the physics department, once a boys’ club. ", In 2013, Janelle Monáe released a song called "Sally Ride". [3][4] Ride died of pancreatic cancer on July 23, 2012. Dr. Okie was her schoolmate, and wrote that she and Dr. Ride, both on scholarship, felt out of place among the actors’ daughters and “Bel Air belles” at the school. Interesting Facts about Sally Ride. She was an astronaut until 1987. In 2009, we featured Ride as part of our "35 Who Made a Difference" package. Dr. Ride told a colleague it was difficult not to be angered by the findings. Dr. Ride told interviewers that what drove her was not the desire to become famous or to make history as the first woman in space. NASA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Many of the people attending the launch wore T-shirts bearing the words "Ride, Sally Ride", lyrics from Wilson Pickett's song "Mustang Sally". At Cape Canaveral, many in the crowd of 250,000 that watched the launching wore T-shirts that said, “Ride, Sally Ride” — from the lyrics of the song “Mustang Sally.”, The next day, Gloria Steinem, editor of Ms. magazine at the time, said, “Millions of little girls are going to sit by their television sets and see they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists.”, When the shuttle landed, Dr. Ride told reporters, “I’m sure it was the most fun that I’ll ever have in my life.”. The cause was pancreatic cancer, … She was the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she co-founded in 2001 that creates entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students, with a particular focus on girls. The team recommended an outpost on the Moon, though not a “race to Mars.” But Mars should still be the “ultimate objective,” the group said. July 23, 2012 — -- Sally Ride, the NASA astronaut who became the first American woman in space in 1983, has died after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her office said today. She was part of a crew of five that spent about six days in space, during which she used the arm to deploy and retrieve a satellite. American physicist and astronaut (1951–2012), Center for International Security and Arms Control, NASA Leadership and America's Future in Space, Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, United States women's national soccer team, "10 fascinating things about Astronaut Sally Ride you must know", "Obituary: American Woman Who Shattered Space Ceiling",, "An Oral History Of The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster", "EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students)", "GRAIL MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students)", "Touched by an Angel (1994–2003): Godspeed", "Sally Ride touts science careers for women", "Sally Ride program blasts kids into science", "Roger Boisjoly, 73, Dies; Warned of Shuttle Danger", "Sally Ride Science Brings Cutting-Edge Science to the Classroom with New Content Rich Classroom Sets", "Sally Ride encourages girls to engineer careers", "Inspired kids will reach for stars under Obama", "Sally Ride, First American Woman In Space, Revealed To Have Female Partner Of 27 Years", "Talking with Sally Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy", "Sally Ride, Trailblazing Astronaut, Dies at 61", Tam O'Shaughnessy biography on the Sally Ride Science website, "Sally Ride Revealed to Be Gay: Her Sister, on Ride's Life, Death, and Desires for Privacy", "Tam O'Shaughnessy: About Sally Ride's Partner Of 27 Years", "The Real Sally Ride: Astronaut, Science Champion and Lesbian", Former Astronaut Sally Ride Dies in La Jolla | NBC 7 San Diego, "Sally Ride, the first US woman in space, dies aged 61", "Sally Ride, first American woman in space, dies", "Sally Ride, first American woman in space, dies at 61", "Barrier-Breaking Astronaut Interred at Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery", "National Winners | public service awards", NASA's Grail Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride, "Moon Probes' Crash Site Named After Sally Ride", "Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride Are 2013 General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award Honorees", "Navy Names New Scripps Research Vessel to Honor Legacy of Space Explorer Sally Ride", "Navy christens new research ship for Sally Ride, first US woman in space", "Obama to honor Sally Ride, first US woman in space, with posthumous Medal of Freedom", "President Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sally Ride", "Legacy Walk honors LGBT 'guardian angels, "PHOTOS: 7 LGBT Heroes Honored With Plaques in Chicago's Legacy Walk", "Stanford renames buildings for Sally Ride, Carolyn Attneave", "Lesbian icons honored with jerseys worn by USWNT", "8 reasons Chris Hadfield is the coolest astronaut on the Web", "Chris Hadfield "Ride That Lightning" (lyric video)", "Women of NASA Lego toy set now on sale for $24.99", "Barbie launches new 'Inspiring Women' dolls honoring Rosa Parks, Sally Ride", "Sally Ride collected news and commentary", "Ride urges emphasis on math, science studies", "Sally Ride: The first American woman in space", NASA Astronaut Group 8, "TFNG (Thirty-Five New Guys)", 1978,, 20th-century American non-fiction writers, 21st-century American non-fiction writers, Burials at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica, United States Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 January 2021, at 22:29. Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American astronaut and physicist. As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. Both parents were elders in the Presbyterian Church. On “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson joked that the shuttle flight would be delayed because Dr. Ride had to find a purse to match her shoes. She earned a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. She also switched from physics to engineering and helped in the development of a robotic arm for the space shuttle. Sally Ride's death came after 17 months of battling pancreatic cancer. [49][50], In 2017, a Google Doodle honored her on International Women's Day. (She advised eating it fast, before it floated away.). Sally Ride became America's first woman in space 37 years ago. But this is something I’m very willing to put my name behind.”, Dr. Ride married a fellow astronaut, Steven Hawley, in 1982. She was the only person to serve on both of the panels investigating Shuttle accidents (those for the Challenger accident and later the Columbia disaster). Her graduate work involved X-ray astronomy and free-electron lasers. She was the only panelist to offer him support. At her request, NASA kept her illness secret. [13] In 1999, she acted in the season 5 finale of Touched by an Angel, titled "Godspeed". [19] Their relationship was revealed by the company and confirmed by her sister, who said she chose to keep her personal life private, including her sickness and treatments. The medal was presented to her life partner Tam O'Shaughnessy in a ceremony at the White House on November 20, 2013. It got me home twice. She was 61. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. She rejected most offers for product endorsements, memoirs and movies, and her reticence lasted to the end. [11], In 1987, Ride left her position in Washington, D.C., to work at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. [58], Ride's space flight is a central event in the 2016 novel Our Lady of the Inferno. Monday, Aug 10. From the mid-1990s until her death, Ride led two public-outreach programs for NASA—the ISS EarthKAM and GRAIL MoonKAM projects, in cooperation with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UCSD. Sally Ride, who died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was the first female U.S. astronaut in space and became friends with Tam O'Shaugnessy at the age of 12. and "Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?" [44] This was done in 2014 with the christening of the oceanographic research vessel RV Sally Ride (AGOR-28). Astronaut Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, died today from pancreatic cancer at the age of 61, according to news reports. Did she cry on the job? [39], On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Ride into the California Hall of Fame at the California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.[40]. Billy Joel's 1989 song "We Didn't Start the Fire" mentions her. When Sally Ride died in 2012, her obituary noted a new fact that was widely picked up: that she was survived by her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy. The same year, Dr. Ride retired from NASA and became a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford. She was soon playing in tournaments. Three years later Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to go to space, died in the Challenger explosion. In a space agency filled with trailblazers, Sally K. Ride was a pioneer of a different sort. [3], Ride attended Portola Junior High (now Portola Middle School) and then Birmingham High School before graduating from the private Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles on a scholarship. When she was 32, … In 1989, she became a professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego. [60], In 2019, Mattel Inc released a Barbie doll in Ride's likeness as part of their "Inspiring Women" series.[61]. [43], In April 2013, the U.S. Navy announced that a research ship would be named in honor of Ride. Dr. Ride did not have to work hard for good grades, called herself an underachiever and refused to feign interest if she was bored in class. She was 61 years old at the time of her death on July 23, 2012. They divorced in 1987. [6] After Sally Ride's death in 2012, General Donald Kutyna revealed that she had discreetly provided him with key information about O-rings (namely, that they become stiff at low temperatures) that eventually led to identification of the cause of the explosion. Although Ride … When one came aboard a space station, a male cosmonaut welcomed her by saying the kitchen and an apron were all ready for her. Her obituary made news for quietly mentioning that she was survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy. It was not until today, however — nearly 50 years after meeting — that their 27 … She received the National Space Society's von Braun Award, the Lindbergh Eagle, and the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award. Sally died on July 23, 2012 after fighting a battle with pancreatic cancer. Following the sad news today that Sally Ride, the first American women to fly in space, had died of cancer at the age of 61, President Obama released this statement: Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride. In the report, Dr. Ride wrote that a lunar outpost would combine “adventure, science, technology and perhaps the seeds of enterprise.” She also noted darkly that the United States had “lost leadership” to the Soviet Union in a number of aspects of space exploration. She was 61. Did she plan to have children? [59], In 2017, a "Women of NASA" LEGO set went on sale featuring (among other things) mini-figurines of Ride, Margaret Hamilton, Mae Jemison, and Nancy Grace Roman. She received bachelor’s degrees in physics and English in 1973 (her specialty was Shakespeare), a master’s degree in physics in 1975 and a Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1978, all from Stanford. U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tam O'Shaughnessy, Sally Ride's life partner of 27 years, on behalf of Ride in November 2013. In 2007, she was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. [5] Her father had been a political science professor at Santa Monica College. She wrote six science books for children, including one that explained how to make a sandwich in space. But she also said: “I flew the shuttle twice. When Sally Ride Took Her First Space Flight, Sexism Was the Norm. Sally K. Ride, America's first woman in space, announced yesterday that she plans to leave NASA to accept a fellowship at Stanford University. She thought peer pressure, especially in middle school, began driving girls away from the sciences, so she continued to set up science programs all over the country meant to appeal to girls — science festivals, science camps, science clubs — to help them find mentors, role models and one another. After his testimony, Dr. Ride, who was known to be reserved and reticent, publicly hugged him. Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space, died Monday at the age of 61, the Associated Press reported. “The women’s movement had already paved the way, I think, for my coming,” she said. They discussed making their 27-year-old relationship public about a week before Ride died from cancer in 2012. Part of Ride's job was to operate the robotics arm to deploy and retrieve SPAS-1.[6]. Sally Ride hugged him publicly to show her support for his efforts. Ride … In a statement on Monday afternoon, President Obama said Dr. Ride had been “a national hero and a powerful role model.”, “She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools,” he said. Ride had completed eight months of training for her third flight (STS-61-M, a TDRS deployment mission) when the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred. She spent a total of more than 343 hours in space. She was named to the Rogers Commission (the presidential commission investigating the Challenger disaster) and headed its subcommittee on operations. She was strong-willed and athletic, and became so obsessed with playing football in the street that her parents pushed her into tennis lessons because it was a safer sport. Sally died peacefully on July 23rd after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. [18], Ride wrote or co-wrote seven books[19] on space aimed at children, with the goal of encouraging children to study science.[20][21]. She joined NASA in 1978. Ride's mother, who was of Norwegian descent, had worked as a volunteer counselor at a women's correctional facility. Ride received numerous awards throughout her lifetime and after. She also developed a passion for trying to interest young people, especially girls, in science, math and technology. July 23, 2012 Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died on Monday at her home in San Diego. As a member of the panel appointed by President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident, Ms. Ride gained a reputation for asking tough questions. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame and was awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal twice. [25][26] O'Shaughnessy was also a science writer and, later, the co-founder of Sally Ride Science. In 1982, she married fellow NASA astronaut Steve Hawley. During her life, Ride kept her personal life private. Editor's Note, July 23, 2012: Sally Ride died today at the age of 61 after a long battle with cancer. Ride died on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61, in her home in La Jolla, California,[34] seventeen months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The elder child of Dale Burdell Ride and Carol Joyce Ride (née Anderson), Ride was born in Los Angeles. Sally Ride, American astronaut, the first American woman to travel into outer space. Dr. Ride with fellow crew members at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida before an October 1984 flight aboard the Challenger. Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; and her sister, Ms. Scott, who is known as Bear. Ride was born on May 26, 1951. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer , according to a statement posted on the website of Sally Ride Science, a science education company she founded in 2001. When she was chosen to be an astronaut, the one person she wanted most to call was Dr. Mommaerts, she told Dr. Okie. Dr. Ride, a physicist who was accepted into the space program in 1978 after she answered a newspaper ad for astronauts, flew on the shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983, and on a second mission in 1984. She married fellow astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982, but they divorced in 1987.After her passing, Tam OShaughnessy opened up about their 27 year relationship. Following her death on July 23, 2012 at the age of 61, she also is being remembered as a soft-spoken physicist who wanted to inspire young people to consider careers in technical fields. [6], In 1994, Ride received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. Sally Ride was married to astronaut Steven Hawley in 1982. On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally K. Ride became the first American woman in space, when she launched with her four crewmates aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-7. [6] Astrophysics and free electron lasers were her specific areas of study. During a press conference, she was asked questions such as, "Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?" She was married to Steve Hawley.She died on July 23, 2012 in La Jolla, California. In the movie Valley Girl (2020 film) she is referred to as the first woman astronaut and a valley girl, since she is from Encino. Sally Ride died at her home in La Jolla, California. She was born in Los Angeles, California. Postal Service issued a first-class postage stamp honoring Ride in 2018. The programs allowed middle school students to request images of the Earth[12] and Moon. Speaking to reporters before the first shuttle flight, Dr. Ride — chosen in part because she was known for keeping her cool under stress — politely endured a barrage of questions focused on her sex: Would spaceflight affect her reproductive organs? In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the California Space Institute. Center for International Security and Arms Control. All she wanted to do was fly, she said, to soar into space, float around weightless inside the shuttle, look out at the heavens and gaze back at Earth. Two elementary schools in the United States are named after her: Sally Ride Elementary School in The Woodlands, Texas, and Sally Ride Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland. The CBS News reporter Diane Sawyer asked her to demonstrate a newly installed privacy curtain around the shuttle’s toilet. “Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve.”. [56], Also in 2013, astronauts Chris Hadfield and Catherine Coleman performed a song called "Ride On". Sally Ride Death. Dr. Ride was known for guarding her privacy. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. [48], In 2014, Ride was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display that celebrates LGBT history and people. [45], On May 20, 2013, a "National Tribute to Sally Ride" was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and on that same day, President Barack Obama announced that Ride would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. At Stanford, she earned a master's degree in 1975 and a PhD in physics in 1978 while doing research on the interaction of X-rays with the interstellar medium. [9][10], Prior to her first space flight, she was subject to media attention due to her gender. Sally Ride is best known as the first American woman in space. After leaving NASA, Sally worked at Stanford University, the California Space Institute, and even started her own company called Sally Ride Science. Close Menu. They divorced in 1987. [14] In 2003, she was asked to serve on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Ride was extremely private about her personal life. On July 23, 2012, Ride died at the age of 61, following a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. How would she deal with menstruation in space? She is known for her work on Some Assembly Required (2008), Space Age (1992) and Spaceflight (1985). [54], When she became the first American woman in space on the Space Shuttle Challenger, many in the crowd attending the launch wore T-shirts printed, "Ride, Sally Ride," a play on the lyric of the 1965 song, Mustang Sally.[55]. And when she applied to the space program, NASA had already made a commitment to admit women. A new photobiography details Sally Ride's childhood, her early struggles with stardom and the scientific zeal of America's first woman in space. She played tennis for Stanford, became the team’s No. [51], The U.S. In 1987, Dr. Ride led a study team that wrote a report advising NASA on the future direction of the space program. In 1999, Ride appeared as herself on the Touched By An Angel episode "Godspeed. Mr. Boisjoly, who died in January, said her gesture had helped sustain him during a troubled time. (Later, in graduate school, Dr. Ride was devastated to learn that Dr. Mommaerts had committed suicide. She was 61 years old and had lived in California. Sally Ride was an American physicist and astronaut who achieved iconic status by becoming the first American woman and third overall to travel to space. The Soviets had already sent two women into space.