SALLY RIDE Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Name: Sally Ride                                                                   
Born: May 26, 1951 Encino, Los Angeles, California                                 
Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is an American former astronaut who in       
1983 became the first American woman to reach outer space. She was                 
preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana             
Savitskaya (1982). At the time, she was the youngest American to enter outer       
space. She was married for a time to NASA Astronaut Steve Hawley.                   
Sally Ride was born in Los Angeles, and is the oldest child of Joyce Ride and       
Dale B. Ride. Sally has a sister named Karen 'Bearful' Ride, who became a           
Presbyterian minister. Dr. Ride attended high school at Westlake School for         
Girls in Los Angeles (now Harvard-Westlake School) on a scholarship, where she     
played tennis. In addition to being interested in science she was a nationally     
ranked tennis player. She initially attended Swarthmore College but received her   
bachelor's degrees (in English and physics) from Stanford University near Palo     
Alto, California. She then received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in physics at     
the same institution, while doing research in astrophysics and free-electron       
laser physics.                                                                     
Ride was one of 8,000 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking     
applicants for the space program.[3] As a result, Ride joined NASA in 1978. As     
part of her training she was the Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for the second       
and third Space Shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the Space     
Shuttle's robot arm. On June 18, 1983 she became the first American woman in       
space as a crewmember on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. On STS-7, the 5-person 
crew deployed two communications satellites, conducted pharmaceutical               
experiments, and was the first to use the robot arm in space and the first to       
use the arm to retrieve a satellite. Her second space flight was in 1984, also     
on board the Challenger. She has cumulatively spent more than 343 hours in space.   
Ride was 8 months into training for her third flight at the time of the Space       
Shuttle Challenger accident.[2] She was named to the Presidential Commission       
investigating the accident, and headed its Subcommittee on Operations.After         
the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.       
There she led NASA's first strategic planning effort, authoring a report           
entitled "Leadership and America's Future in Space", and founded NASA's Office     
of Exploration.