Monday, July 23, 2012

"The thing that I'll remember most about the flight is that it was fun."

-- Dr. Sally Ride, post-landing in 1983

Dr. Sally Ride was 32 years old when she became the first American woman in space. At the time she was also the youngest American to fly in space (and not much older than I am now!) 

Dr. Ride in high school.
Source: Sally Ride Science

From everything I'm reading, it sounds like Dr. Ride was a very private woman. But, this article shares a few neat facts about her that I hadn't known. For instance, Dr. Ride was on a commercial flight when Challenger exploded. The pilot announced the Challenger news over the intercom, so she walked up to the cockpit, flashed her NASA badge, and they let her sit with them and listen to the news come in over the radio. She'd already flown on the Space Shuttle twice at that point, and never went into space again... though dozens of other American women have. 

NASA's first six female astronauts!
Source: Boing Boing

I just checked with good ol' Wikipedia, and it tells me that 3 of the 14 NASA astronauts who completed the most recent training class last fall are women. The youngest Group 20 Astronaut Candidate, Kathleen Rubins, was just 5 years old when Dr. Ride flew on STS-7!

NASA Astronaut Group 20
Source: Wikipedia

So, thank you, Dr. Ride! Because of you, a generation of women (including at least one astronaut so far!) grew up knowing we can fly in space too. :-) 

An hour of NASA footage on Dr. Ride's first mission, STS-7.
Recommended for anyone as dorky as me...
Source: YouTube.

Source: Wikipedia, Boing Boing, Sally Ride ScienceYouTube, New York Times, Mental Floss.

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