Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Sally Ride, born on May 26, 1951, was the first female American astronaut in space. Sally played tennis, volleyball, and softball in high school, and quit college to pursue a professional tennis career. But, after three months of training, she quit that and joined a different college in California, her home state. Ride received a Bachelor’s degree in both science and art, and two years later a Master’s in science.
Ride tried out for NASA’s space program after seeing an ad in the newspaper. Of the 8,000 people that applied, Ride was selected as one of the 35 that were picked.
For the next two years, 1978 and 1979, Ride trained with NASA. After her training was completed, she acted as an on-orbit capsule communicator.
Ride became the first American woman in space as the Mission Specialist for a shuttle flight on the Challenger. Ride went on another space mission, also aboard the Challenger, and was training for a third mission, still on the same ship, when the Challenger blew up just after take-off.
In 1982, Sally Ride married Steven Hawley, also a NASA astronaut. Sally Ride died at the age of 61 in 2012 of pancreatic cancer.
The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter. Sally Ride