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First US woman in space passes away

First US woman in space passes away

THE first US woman in space, Sally Ride, has passed away. She was 61.

Dr. Ride was a star physicist who applied to join NASA’s astronaut team after spotting an advertisement in a newspaper.

She became America’s first woman in space in 1983 when, at the age of 32, she flew with four other crew members on Challenger. During the mission Dr. Ride operated the Shuttle’s robotic arm to retrieve a satellite.

A year later she was to return to space on board Challenger for an eight-day mission. However, this was to be her last trip into space. A third mission was planned but this was cancelled after the Challenger space craft exploded, killing 7 crew members, 73 seconds after taking off from Cape Canaveral in 1986.

Following the disaster, Dr. Ride served as a member of the Presidential Commission which investigated the accident. She was also to serve on the panel which investigated the 2003 Columbia crash.

After leaving NASA in 1989, Dr. Ride served as a professor at Stanford University. She went on to write a number of science books and established Sally Ride Science — a science hub for young people.

Among the many people to pay tribute to Dr. Ride was NASA administrator Charles Bolden.

He said: “Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism. She literally changed the face of America’s space program. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly.”

Dr. Ride passed away after suffering pancreatic cancer.

To view an interview in which Dr. Sally Ride discusses her life, click here.


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