- Written by Josh
Tuesday 24 July marked a tragic day for the space science community as the news was broken that astronaut Dr. Sally Ride had succumbed to her 17 month battle with cancer.
Dr. Ride cemented her place in the history books by becoming the first American woman in space back in 1983, changing the face of American space exploration. She was an accomplished Physicist and had a proficiency in robotics, helping to design the shuttles robotic arm and operating it to capture satellites during her shuttle missions. During Sally's career she logged over 14 days in space over two shuttle missions, but it wasn't just in the air that she had impact. Sally had also worked on the ground for the second and third shuttle missions as CapCom. This role was the main point of contact for the shuttle with Mission Control.
After the Challenger disaster cut training for her third flight short, Sally moved to a more administrative post working on strategic planning, serving on the Challenger and Columbia investigation panels and founding NASA's Office of exploration. Later in her career Sally concentrated more of teaching and inspiring young people, taking a physics professorship at Stanford University and setting up the company 'Sally Ride Science' which aimed to create entertaining science programming to encourage young people into science. Despite all this she even found enough time to write five space themed children's books.
It is without a doubt that Sally Ride truly deserves her place in the Astronaut hall of fame. Her work as an astronaut and her promotion of science and engineering to younger generations has created a legacy that will be long remembered. Since joining NASA in 1978 Sally Ride has been an inspiration and a role model to young people wanting to become astronauts. She will be sorely missed but her memory will live on for many years to come.