Best Known For
In 1983, astronaut and astrophysicist Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Ride died on July 23, 2012 at the age of 61, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Sally Ride - Mini Biography (3:01)
Christa McAuliffe - Full Episode (42:43)
Sally Ride studied at Stanford University before beating out 1000 other applicants for a spot in NASA's astronaut program. Ride joined the Challenger shuttle mission on June 18, 1983, and became the first American woman in space.
Neil Armstrong joined the organization that would become NASA in 1962 and was command pilot for his first mission, Gemini VIII, in 1966. He was spacecraft commander for Apollo 11 and the first man to walk on the moon.
The full biography of Christa McAuliffe.
Buzz Aldrin talks to Dr. Steve Gillan about why he became an astronaut, his schooling and how president Kennedy's speech about putting a man on the moon inspired him.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Dr. Sally Ride, Ph.D. studied at Stanford University before beating out 1000 other applicants for a spot in NASA's astronaut program. After rigorous training, Ride joined the Challenger shuttle mission on June 18, 1983, and became the first American woman in space.
Born on May 26, 1951, Sally Ride grew up in Los Angeles and went to Stanford University where she was a double major in physics and English. Ride received bachelor’s degrees in both subjects in 1973. She continued to study physics at the university, earning a master’s degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. in 1978.
That same year, Ride beat out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) astronaut program. She went through the program’s rigorous training program and got her chance to go into space and the record books in 1983. On June 18, Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. As a mission specialist, she helped deploy satellites and worked other projects. She returned to Earth on June 24.
The next year, Sally Ride again served as a mission specialist on a space shuttle flight in October. She was scheduled to take a third trip, but it was cancelled after the tragic Challenger accident on January 28, 1986. After the accident, Ride served on the presidential commission that investigated the space shuttle explosion.
After NASA, Sally Ride became the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a professor of physics at the school in 1989. In 2001, she started her own company to create educational programs and products known as Sally Ride Science to help inspire girls and young women to pursue their interests in science and math. Ride serves as president and CEO.
For her contributions to the field of science and space exploration, Ride received many honors, including the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
On July 23, 2012, Sally Ride died at the age of 61, following a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She will always be remembered as a pioneering astronaut who went where no other woman had gone before.
© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Sally Ride profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Some went where no man had gone before. Icons like Jacqueline Cochran, Mae C. Jemison, Annie Smith Peck and Zora Neale Hurston have held the torch for women to follow in the fields of anthropology, astronautics, aviation and mountain climbing. Take a look at some of the world’s top women adventurers and the terrains they’ve explored.
Daring Female Adventurers 15 people in this group
Despite all sorts of institutional obstacles, women have continued to reach stratospheric levels of success in a full gamut of professional pursuits, whether as scientists, scribes, educators, governmental leaders, athletes, designers, film directors or performers. Learn more about the plethora of triumphs obtained by our group of trailblazers.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Groundbreaking Women 71 people in this group
Did you know that since 1912, nearly 50 million girls in the United States have joined the Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts helped an amazingly diverse array of famous women develop a strong foundation of courage, confidence and character. It's no surprise then that quite a few famous women spent time in the sash. Celebrities who got their start selling cookies and earning merit badges include Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter and actress/writer Carrie Fisher; former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan; Olympic skaters Bonnie Blair and Peggy Fleming; astronaut Sally Ride; and iconic women's rights activist Gloria Steinem. Browse our collection of inspiring famous Girl Scouts who have certainly earned merit badges in their fields.
Girl Scouts 45 people in this group