STORIES
Women

Sally Kristen Ride

by Gabriela from Texas

Sally Ride and Crew (NASA)
Sally Ride and Crew (NASA)

Sally Kristen Ride was born to Dale and Joyce Ride on May 26, 1951, in Encino, California. As a child and teen she loved playing tennis and was very good at it. So good in fact, that she had a junior ranking at one time and received a tennis scholarship to Westlake School for Girls. Sally graduated in 1968 and attended Swarthmore College, but dropped out to pursue a career in professional tennis. After three weeks of intense practice, however, she decided that she did not have the athletic ability to have a very successful career. She was then accepted to Stanford University and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics, a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Doctorate Degree in Physics.

One day, as Sally was reading a school newspaper at Stanford, she came across a NASA article calling for astronauts. She answered the call along with 8,000 other people. Of those people, 35 were accepted into the program. Six were women, and one of them was Sally Ride.

Sally Ride and Katherine Sullivan (NASA)
Sally Ride and Katherine Sullivan (NASA)

Sally joined NASA in 1977 and went through extensive and very intense training. Some of the things that she did included gravity and weightlessness training, parachute jumping, water survival, radio communications, and navigation. She then served for a couple of years as a communications officer for the space shuttle Columbia. She also helped in the design of the mechanical arm that astronauts use to deploy and retrieve satellites.

On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride went up in the Challenger and became the first American woman in space. The mission lasted 147 hours. Her next fight was on October 5, 1984 and was again on the Challenger. This was an eight-day mission (197 hours). In 1986, Ride was preparing for her third mission when the Challenger exploded. She was then assigned to the Presidential team to investigate the incident.

Sally Ride (NASA)
Sally Ride (NASA)

Sally remained with NASA until 1987. Since then, she has been the author/ co-author of several books: The Mystery of Mars, To Space and Back, The Third Planet: Exploring the Earth from Space, and Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System. Sally Ride will always be remembered as a hero for all that she has contributed to our country, and for the brave and daring spirit that has inspired so many girls to literally reach for the stars.

Page created on 2/12/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/12/2007 12:00:00 AM

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