Did you know that Sally Kristen Ride was born today in 1951? She was a physicist and astronaut. As part of the crew for the Space Shuttle Challenger, Sally Ride started her first space flight on June 18, 1983 and became the first American Woman in space. She completed two space flights on the Space Shuttle Challenger and helped to develop the Space Shuttle’s “Canadarm” robot arm. After the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, Sally Ride was part of the group that investigated the accident and secretly provided the information needed to reveal the cause of the accident.
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Sally Ride is the third woman to travel to space from any country.
After leaving NASA, Sally Ride worked at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms. Then she worked for the University of California, San Diego as a physics professor.
Sally Ride helped to create the company Sally Ride Science, which produces entertaining science programs and materials for elementary and middle school students.
After the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle accidents, she served on the investigation committees. She is the only person to have participated in both. After Sally Ride passed away, it was revealed that after the Challenger disaster, she was the one that gave General Donald Kutyna the information about the faulty O-Rings. He in turn found a way to obliquely give that information to Richard Feynman, who then presented his memorable O-ring demonstration.
Sally Ride attended Swarthmore College; University of California, Los Angeles; and Stanford University. She earned a master’s and PhD from Stanford. She studied astrophysics and electron lasers.