Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJuly 23, 2012, La Jolla, California, United States
SpouseSteven Hawley
FactBrought with her a Norwegian flag into space, in tribute of her Norwegian heritage.

Sally Ride was an American astronaut and physicist. She was the first American woman in space, and the youngest American astronaut at the time. Ride joined NASA in 1978 and became an astronaut in 1983. She flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983 and 1985. Ride died in 2012, at the age of 61.

Ride was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. Her parents were Dale Burdell Ride, a professor of medicine, and Carol Joyce Ride, a counselor. She had two sisters, Karen and Sharon. Ride attended Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in English. She also played tennis for Stanford.

Ride began her career as a physicist at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control. In 1978, she applied to NASA’s astronaut program. She was one of six women who were selected to be astronauts out of more than 8,000 applicants.

Ride made her first space flight on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. She flew on the Challenger again in 1985. On both flights, she served as a mission specialist. Ride also worked on the development of the Space Shuttle’s robotic arm.

In 1987, Ride left NASA to work as a physics professor at the University of California, San Diego. She also wrote children’s books about science and space exploration. Ride founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, in 2001. The company creates science programs and products for children.

Ride died on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

General Info

Full NameSally Ride
DiedJuly 23, 2012, La Jolla, California, United States
ProfessionAstronaut, Physicist
EducationStanford University, Portola Middle School, Swarthmore College, Harvard-Westlake School


SpouseSteven Hawley
ParentsCarol Joyce Anderson, Dale Burdell Ride
SiblingsKaren Ride

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1Yes, I did feel a special responsibility to be the first American woman in space.
2When I wasn't working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.
3No, I think most astronauts recognize that the space shuttle program is very high-risk, and are prepared for accidents.
4The stars don't look bigger, but they do look brighter.


1Posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 by President Barack Obama.
2Partner of Tam O'Shaughnessy for 27 years.
3Ride beat out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) astronaut program.
4Grew up in Los Angeles and attended Portola Middle School and Westlake School for Girls in LA (now Harvard-Westlake School) on a scholarship. In addition to being interested in science, she was a nationally ranked tennis player. Ride attended Swarthmore College for three semesters, took physics courses at UCLA, and then entered Stanford University as a junior, graduating with a bachelor's degree in English and physics. Also at Stanford, she earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. in physics, while doing research in astrophysics and free electron laser physics.
5She was scheduled to take a third trip, but it was canceled after the tragic Challenger accident on January 28, 1986. After the accident, Ride served on the presidential commission that investigated the space shuttle explosion.
6After 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.
7In 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 served as president and CEO.
8For 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.
9Had a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
10Ride endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008.
11Ride was a member of the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, an independent review requested by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on May 7, 2009.
12Her relationship with her partner of 27 years, Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy, was revealed in Ride's obituary released by Sally Ride Science and confirmed by Ride's sister, as well as a Sally Ride Science spokesperson.
13At her first launch at Cape Canaveral, many in the crowd of 250,000 that watched the launching wore T-shirts that said, "Ride, Sally Ride" - from the lyrics of the song "Mustang Sally.".
14Brought with her a Norwegian flag into space, in tribute of her Norwegian heritage.
15Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 2003.
16Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1988.
17Her former husband, Steve Hawley, was also an astronaut who participated in at least two Space Shuttle missions.
18The first American woman in space, on the shuttle Challenger, June 1983.
19Born at 8:11am-PDT




Space Age1992TV Series documentary chairman - 2 episodes


Touched by an Angel1999TV SeriesDr. Sally Ride


Some Assembly Required2008Documentary executive producer


National Tribute to Sally Ride2013Documentary shortSally Ride
Texas Monthly Talks2010TV SeriesHerself - Interviewee
The Minerva Awards 2006: Sally Ride2006ShortHerself - Interviewee
Sesame Street1987TV SeriesHerself
The Dream Is Alive1985Documentary shortHerself
Spaceflight1985TV Series documentaryHerself
Bob Hope's Salute to NASA: 25 Years of Reaching for the Stars1983TV MovieHerself
Today1981TV SeriesHerself

Archive Footage

Makers: Women Who Make America2013TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself, physicist and astronaut
Beyond the Moon: Failure Is Not an Option 22005TV Movie documentaryHerself
Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond2005Video documentaryHerself - NASA Astronaut
Memories of 1970-19911991TV Series documentaryHerself
Sesame Street1985TV SeriesHerself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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