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Nothing But The Facts About Sally Ride

written by: johnsinit•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 7/25/2012

In 1983, Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, following two Russian female cosmonauts, Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya in space exploration. Presented below are some notable facts and interesting data from her biography.

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    Sally Ride, who recently passed away July 23, 2012, was the third woman to visit space, after Tereshkova and Savitskaya. She was also the first American woman in Space. She was a Doctor of Physics and had her own company. Ride's complete biography can be found in our “Women in Space" series, but here are a few facts about this incredible space exploration pioneer.

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    Dr. Sally Ride

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    Nothing But The Facts

    Full name: Sally Kirsten Ride

    Famous for: First American woman in space, third woman is Space

    Birth date: May, the 26th 1951

    Birth place: Los Angeles, California, USA

    Father: Dale Ride

    Mother: Joyce

    Family: sister Karen

    Attended space program: Janury 1978 (approved August 1979)

    Pre-flight occupation:scientist, tennis player

    Age at the first flight: 32

    Rank at the first flight: Doctor of Physics

    First mission name/code: STS-7

    First mission date: June, the 19th, 1983

    First mission vessel: Space Shuttle Challenger

    Number of missions: 2

    Second mission name/code: STS-41-G

    Second mission date: October, the 5th, 1984

    Second mission vessel: Space Shuttle Challenger

    Total time in space: 14d, 07h, 46m

    Missions canceled: 1 (1986 – Challenger disaster)

    Space Exploration contribution: First American in space, using robot-arm in space, pharmaceutical experiments, satellite deployment

    Space roles: mission specialist

    Post-flight career (space-related): Challenger disaster presidential investigation commission member, Special Assistant to the Administrator for long range and strategic NASA planning

    Education: B.Sc. in Physic 1973, B.A. in English 1973, M. Sc. in Physics 1975, Ph.D. in Physics 1978

    Retired: 1997

    Retired Rank: Ph.D. in Physics

    Post-Space career: Professor of Physics at University of California since 1989, member of Columbia disaster investigation board (2003), Owner and CEO of Sally Ride Sciences (since 2001)

    Marriage: Steve Hawley 1982, divorced 1987

    Children: none

    Honors: National Women Hall of Fame, Astronaut Hall of Fame, Jefferson Award for Public Service, two NASA Gold medals

    Other achievements and positions:member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, member of National Research Council's Space Studies Board, has written numerous books on space

    Named after her: Elementary school at The Woodlands (Texas, USA), Elementary school in Germantown (Maryland, USA)

    Death: July 23, 2012

    Cause of Death: Pancreatic Cancer

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    "Ride" Astronautix:

    "Astronaut Bio: Sally Ride" NASA:

Facts About Female Astronaut Pioneers

Over 50 women have visited space since Valentina Tereshkova made her first flight in 1963. Svetlana Savitskaya and Sally Ride joined this elite club from the Soviet Space Agency and NASA respectively. Learn the facts about these pioneers of space exploration.
  1. Nothing but the Facts about: Valentina Tereshkova
  2. Nothing But The Facts About: Svetlana Savitskaya
  3. Nothing But The Facts About Sally Ride