2006

Sally Ride

Spirit of the Women's Hall of Fame

At 27, with B.A., B.S. and master's degrees in hand, Sally Ride was a Ph.D. candidate looking for post-doctoral work in astrophysics when she read about NASA's call for astronauts in the Stanford University paper. More than 8,000 men and women applied to the space program that year, and 35 individuals, including six women, were accepted. Sally Ride was one of them. Once accepted into the astronaut corps in 1978, Ride underwent extensive training that included parachute jumping, water survival, gravity and weightlessness training, radio communications and navigation. In 1983, Dr. Ride became the premier American woman to orbit Earth on board Space Shuttle Challenger. Her next flight was an eight-day mission in 1984.

Sally retired from NASA in 1987 and became a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at her alma mater, Stanford University. Two years later she was appointed director of the California Space Institute and professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. In her ongoing effort to encourage upper elementary and middle school girls to explore the world of science, Dr. Ride founded the interactive website, Sally Ride Science. Through innovative programs, including science festivals, science camps, and a national contest for students to create a new toy or game, Sally Ride Science inspired girls to explore fields from astrobiology to zoology and everything in between. Sally Ride died in 2012. The United States Postal Service honored Ride with a postage stamp in 2018.

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