First American woman to go into space dies
The first American woman to fly into space has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Sally Ride was only 61 years old when she died Monday after a year and a half battle with pancreatic cancer, said CNN.
Ride was aboard the Challenger in 1983 which was the trip to make her the first American woman in space. A year later, she took the Challenger into space again.
“The fact that I was going to be the first American woman to go into space carried huge expectations along with it,” Ride said in a 2008 space agency interview. “I didn’t really think about it that much at the time …but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first to get a chance to go into space.”
In her lifetime, she also earned four degrees at Stanford University. Ride applied for the job at NASA when they first included women. Out of 8,000 applicants, she was the one who was chosen.
USA Today reports that Ride took part in the reviews of the 1986 Challenger and 2003 Columbia tragedies. Along with that, she was on the 2009 blue-ribbon panel.
Ride wanted to inspire girls in particular to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology. After leaving NASA, she went on to teach at the University of California-San Diego. She also founded Sally Ride Science which was a camp to inspire kids.
“As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” President Barack Obama said soon after news of her death broke. “She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools. Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”