Today is International Women’s Day. I have done stories about this event before but they were celebrating a number of people. This one is different. I will be focusing on one person. Someone who has done a lot for not only for space but the way that young people can engage with science. Not only as an interest but as a job as well.
The person I will be concentration on is America’s first woman in space. The third woman overall, Sally Kristen Ride.
She made two flights into space and was training for a third, STS-61-M, when the Challenger disaster, STS-15-L, happened.
Her first flight in 1983 she became not only the first American woman in space but also the youngest. She still holds the record for the youngest astronaut. She was 32 at the time.
She also made it onto Sesame Street. There isn’t much footage of the episode but there is a, very, short clip of her on the show. She recorded other pieces but the below one is the only one that seems to have survived as far as youTube.
After her third mission was cancelled she served on the committee to discover what had happened with Challenger and how to stop that from ever happening again. Many years later, she was called in to serve on the board for the Columbia disaster. The only person to server on both investigations.
What actually got me started on this post was discovering the below cartoon that came out a couple of days after her death.
She died July 23, 2012 of pancreatic cancer and in interned next to her father. One of the greatest mysteries about her came out when her obituary was released by Sally Ride Science. The mention that she had been in a relationship with another woman for almost 30 years came as a shock. Nobody knew. It wasn’t because she was “in the closet” but who she was. Very private with her life away from work.
Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012)