In 1983, Sally Ride broke the gender barrier and captured the world’s imagination when she became the first American woman in history to venture where almost exclusively men had gone before: space. Soft-spoken and celebrity-shy, she was an unassuming hero to people around the globe.
Dr Sally Kristen Ride was born in Encino, California on 26 May 1951. She had an early interest in science and was also a nationally ranked tennis player, but after graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in English and physics, and later a PhD in astrophysics, in 1975 and 1978 respectively, she decided to focus her attentions solely on science, and specifically space.
In 1978, after responding to an advert in the student newspaper, Ride was one of six women selected as astronaut candidates by NASA. Upon completion of a one-year evaluation period, she served as an on-orbit capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for the second and third Space Shuttle missions, STS-2 and STS-3.
In 1983, Ride was given the flight she dreamed of when she was selected as a mission specialist for STS-7 alongside Captain Robert Crippen, among others, becoming the first American woman to reach space and only the third worldwide after Russian ...