I love astronauts. How could I not having grown up in Wapakoneta, Ohio – home of Neil Armstrong? At the grand age of 6 years old, I was among the guests at his parents’ house for his welcome home from the moon party. So I have always had a vested interest in space travel.
35 years ago today, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, taking off with the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger. And fun fact – she is also the youngest American astronaut making her first of two flights at the age of 32. Her second flight, also aboard the Challenger, happened in 1984. She was in training for her third flight on Challenger when it exploded in 1986.
Ride was one of 8,000 people who answered an ad in the Stanford student newspaper asking for applicants for the space program and was selected by NASA in 1978. Her training in physics lead to her inclusion in the team that developed the robotic arm used to deploy and maneuver the payloads by the Shuttle. And her expertise on the Shuttle program lead to her role on the panel that investigated the Challenger disaster.
Point of interest – Sally Ride was actually the third woman in space. She was preceded by two Russian cosmonauts named Valentina Tereshkova who flew in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya who flew in 1982.
Want to know more about Sally? Check out these resources: