AKA Sally Kristen Ride
Birthplace: Encino, CA
Location of death: San Diego, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Pancreatic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Lesbian
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: First American woman in space
Sally Ride is best known for being the first American woman in space and for her impact on U.S. space policy (The Ride Report). Having joined the space program in 1978, Ride made her historic first voyage into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-7) in 1983, and made a second space flight aboard the Challenger in 1984 (STS 41-G). She was in training for her third mission when the Challenger exploded, killing everyone on board; Ride was subsequently appointed to help investigate the tragedy. The panel on which she served pinpointed the cause of the explosion and urged NASA to fix the shuttle's faulty solid rocket booster, to initiate sweeping management reforms, and to beef up attention to safety matters.
In 1987 Ride was asked to study NASA's options beyond the space station. Ride and her fellow task force members recommended four areas of future focus for the space program -- a more in-depth look at Earth sciences with the aide of satellite sensors, exploration of the remote reaches of the solar system with a new generation of robot probes, a return to the moon to establish a permanent lunar base, and a piloted expedition to Mars. Significantly, Ride's report recommended that NASA establish a permanent lunar base at the turn of the century and pursue the Mission Earth studies before pressing on with human exploration of Mars -- proposals very similar to the space agenda pushed by the later George W. Bush administration.
Dr. Ride retired from NASA in 1987 to become a Science Fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University. She later served as the Director of the California Space Institute and as a physics professor at the University of California. Upon leaving NASA her cumulative hours of space flight totaled more than 343.
Ride authored a number of books and academic papers including To Space and Back, Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System, and a children's book entitled The Third Planet: Exploring the Earth from Space. Ride was also involved in such projects as space.com, EarthKAM, Imaginary Lines, and the Sally Ride Club.
Father: Dale Ride
Husband: Steven Hawley (div.)
Girlfriend: Tam O'Shaughnessy (psychologist, together 1985-2012)
High School: Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles, CA
University: BS Physics and BA English, Stanford University (1973)
University: MS Physics, Stanford University (1975)
University: PhD Physics, Stanford University (1978)
Professor: Physics, University of California at San Diego
President's Commission on White House Fellowships
Academy of Achievement 2004
California Space Institute Director
The Aerospace Corporation Trustee
Obama for America
National Women's Hall of Fame 1988
Library of Congress Living Legend 2000
National Aviation Hall of Fame 2007
Risk Factors: Pancreatic Cancer
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