There are many women trailblazers, but only two who crossed the barrier from hero into pop culture immortality. One of these was Amelia Earhart; the other was Sally Ride. Sally Ride was the first US woman in space, the second female astronaut in space, and a trail-blazer for women’s rights. Sally Ride has passed away at age 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
“Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless,” says a statement on the website of Sally Ride Science, a foundation started by Ride to encourage the teaching of science to girls.
Sally Ride was part of the first class of astronauts to include women in 1978; she replied to a NASA ad in the Stanford student newspaper (where she would earn FOUR degrees) and was selected out of 8000 other candidates. She went into space twice aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983 and 1984. Ride was scheduled for a third trip into space on the Challenger in 1986, but was scratched before lift-off. That saved her life, as the Challenger exploded shortly after take-off. Ride investigated the explosions of the Challenger and the Space Shuttle Columbia, the only person to serve on both committees.
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