Meet: Sally Ride, First American Woman in Space
Sally Ride, former NASA Astronaut, was born on May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles,
California. She graduated from Westlake High School in 1968 and received
a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Bachelor of Arts in English in
1973 from Stanford University. She also received her Master of Science
and doctorate degrees in physics from Stanford in 1975 and 1978.
Dr. Ride was selected for astronaut training in 1978, and reported to
NASA in July of that year. As part of her training, she was a member of
the support crew for both the second and third space shuttle flights,
and worked in mission control as a capsule communicatory (CAPCOM) for
those two missions.
Dr. Ride flew in space twice. Her first flight was aboard that space
shuttle Challenger in 1983. The flight, commanded by Captain Robert Crippen,
was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 18. During the
mission, the five-member crew deployed communications satellites for Canada
and Indonesia, performed the first satellite deployment and retrieval
with the shuttle's robot arm, and conducted materials and pharmaceutical
research. Mission STS-7 was in orbit for 6 days (147 hours), then returned
to earth to land on a lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California
on June 24, 1983.
Dr. Ride's second spaceflight was also aboard Challenger, on STS-41G
(the thirteenth space shuttle flight), in October, 1984. This flight was
also commanded by Captain Robert Crippen. During their 8-day mission,
the crew deployed the Earth Radiation Budget satellite, conducted scientific
observations of the Earth, and demonstrated the potential for satellite
refueling by astronauts. The mission lasted 197 hours, and concluded with
a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In June, 1985, Dr. Ride was assigned to a third space shuttle flight.
Training for that flight was interrupted in January, 1986 by the space
shuttle Challenger accident. For the next six months she served as a memeber
of the Presidential Commission investigating the accident. Upon completion
of the investigation, Dr. Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington,
D.C. as assistant to the NASA Administrator for long-range planning. In
this role she created NASA's Office of Exploration and produced a report
on the future of the space program entitled "Leadership and America's
Furture in Space."
Dr. Ride has written a children't book, To Space and Back, describing
her experiences in space, has received the Jefferson Award for Public
Service, and has twice been awarded the National Spaceflight Medal. Her
latest books, Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of The Solar System
and The Third Planet: Exploring The Earth From Space are currently
Dr. Ride is currently a physicist and a member of the faculty at the
University of California. San Diego, as a physics professor. Dr. Ride
is a member of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.
She is the former Director of the California Space Science Institute,
a research institute of the University of California.
Archived QuestChats with Sally Ride