Sally Ride, America's first woman astronaut, has died
Dr. Ride broke two records with her first of two spaceflights in 1983. Not only was she the first American woman to reach the stars, she was also the youngest astronaut in America's space program to do so.
A brilliant scholar with degrees in physics, astrophysics, and English, Dr. Ride spent her first year at NASA before her 1983 flight aboard the Challenger learning how to fly a jet plane and assisting in the development of a robotic arm. It was inevitable that her historic trip was immortalized by the endless playing of Wilson Pickett's song Mustang Sally, whose chorus consists of the lyrics, "All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride."
Dr. Ride spent another eight days in space in 1984. After her retirement in 1987, she returned to academics and wrote several books for children about science and space, including To Space & Back (1986) and Exploring Our Solar System (2003). She also started a company in 2001, Sally Ride Science, which funneled her deep love and passion for science into programs and training for schools and teachers.
Dr. Ride, who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, was 61.