First American woman in space, Sally Ride, dies at 61
The first American woman to go into space, Sally Ride, died Monday after a 17-month battle against pancreatic cancer, her company said.
Ride made history in 1983 as a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger, breaking the gender barrier for U.S. spaceflight. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963, but it took another 20 years for NASA to follow suit.1983. Ronald Reagan was president. The Space Shuttle program was in its infancy, having started only two years prior. The moon landing was still recent memory, and the space program was in full swing. Computers were exploding on the scene, with the first widespread home systems starting to take root across the nation. It was an exciting time to be a grade school kid, and the image of Sally Ride preparing for her first launch was widely distributed.
She left the program after the Challenger explosion, but stayed close to the space program over the years. She served on both panels convened to investigate the Challenger and Columbia explosions, as well as on recent commissions determining the scope and breadth of the US Space program. Her life was far too short, but she accomplished much in her short time with us.
Godspeed, Sally - second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning.
That is all.