Sally Ride: Breaking Ground in the World of Space Exploration

When thinking of women’s contribution to the United States of America’s space program, the name Sally Ride is most often one of the first to be mentioned.

Born on May 26th of 1951, Sally Ride is a native of the sunny state of California. English studies and physics were her academic pursuits of choice at Stanford University and the talented young woman was also a highly ranked amateur tennis player. Even though Sally Ride could have found great success in pursuing a professional career in the world of tennis she chose a life dedicated to college and academia, scientific studies most importantly.

As her love of all things scientific grew, Sally Ride on a whim decided to put an application in to join NASA’s astronaut training program in 1978. Sally made an exceptional impression during the application process and ended up being one of only six women selected to be in the training class of thirty five. When she became a member of the crew for the seventh shuttle mission into outer space, she also made history by becoming the first woman astronaut.

Sally was already into training for her third shuttle mission in 1986 when the Challenger space shuttle exploded killing all crew members aboard. After this horrible tragedy occurred Sally Ride was appointed to a Presidential commission to investigate why it occurred and to help make sure something like that would not happen again. She then for a short time worked for NASA’s administration helping to shape the future of the space exploration program. Sally ride left NASA in 1987 in pursuit of a teaching career first at her Alma matter of Stanford University then for a time at the University of California in San Diego.

Another title to add to her list of accomplishments is that of author. Sally Ride has written several books including two titles for younger readers.

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