Aviation Pioneers

Sally Ride- The First American Female Astronaut

First American female astronaut in space, 3rd woman to go into space; Physicist; Sall Ride was a science hero who wrote science books with the theme of exploring space for children and supported especially female students to turn to science until her death.

Sally Ride pictures
Sally Ride pictures

Sally Ride was born in 1951 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was a lecturer in political science, and her mother was a consultant working in prison. Ride graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English and Physics and went on to earn a PhD in Physics.

The first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, went into space for the first time in 1963. After this date, women could not participate in orbital activities for a long time. Sally Ride was still studying when NASA began its study of the female astronaut in 1977. When she saw an advertisement in the school newspaper inviting women to the astronaut program, she decided to apply and became one of 6 women selected for the job.

Eventually, Ride took to orbit the Challenger space shuttle on June 18th, 1983, as part of the STS-7 mission, earning the title of the first American woman to go into space. Ride’s job on the shuttle was to control the robot arm. She successfully placed the satellites carried on the space shuttle into orbit.

After this mission, She went into space again in 1984 with a space shuttle mission. After Sally Ride, more women had the chance to go into space.

Ride left NASA in 1987 and began teaching at the University of California. Ride, who set out to find ways to help women and girls who want to work in science and mathematics, suggested the EarthKAM project to NASA. EarthKAM is based on middle school students taking pictures of the Earth with a camera on the International Space Station, then working on the photos they took. EarthKAM program continues today, bearing the name of Sally Ride.

Sally Ride
Sally Ride

Sally Ride continued to support students, especially girls, to work in science and math until her death on July 23rd, 2012. She wrote science books for students and teachers,and participated in science programs and festivals.

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