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Class of 2009 – Sally Ride

November 23, 2009

There is only one thing that would have stopped Sally Ride from joining us for our 2009 Hall Of Fame Gala – a call from the White House asking her to come to Washington DC. Sadly (for us) – that is what happened. But before she left town, Dr. Ride was kind enough to send us the following video message:

The biographical information below was compiled by Alan Renga, Assistant Archivist, for the 2009 International Hall of Fame Gala. For more information on the Museum’s Library and Archives, click here.

Sally Ride Hall of Fame Portrait

She is the first American Woman in space.  She is a world renowned physicist. She is dedicated to interesting young women in science, technology, engineering, and math. She is Sally Ride.

Born in 1951 in Los Angeles, California, Sally graduated High School in Westlake, where she was a Nationally Ranked Tennis player. She attended Swarthmore College and then transferred to Stanford University where she eventually received a doctorate degree in Physics in 1978.

While a doctorate candidate, Ride was one over 8000 people to answer an advertisement seeking applicants for the space program and was accepted! After joining NASA, Ride underwent an extensive training period that included parachute jumping, water survival, gravity and weightlessness training, radio communications and navigation. For the second and third Space Shuttle flights, Sally served as the ground-based Capsule Communicator between On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7.

During the mission, the STS-7 crew deployed satellites for Canada and Indonesia and conducted the first formation flying of the orbiter with a free-flying satellite, along with many other important tasks. The mission lasted over 6 days before landing on a lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on June 24, 1983.

Dr. Ride took to space for a second time in 1984 on STS 41-G, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 5, 1984. After the tragic Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Dr. Ride served as a member of the Presidential Commission investigating the accident. She later served on the accident investigation board for the space shuttle Columbia tragedy, the only person to serve on both boards. Upon completion of the Challenger investigation she was assigned to NASA Headquarters as Special Assistant to the Administrator for long range and strategic planning.

In 1989, Dr. Ride joined the faculty at UCSD as a Professor of Physics and Director of the University of California’s California Space Institute. Because of her passion for motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology in 2001 Sally, founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, which creates entertaining and informative science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school children. In addition, she has written numerous science books for children.

Dr. Ride has been a member of many prestigious organizations including the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board, and has served on the Boards of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the NCAA Foundation.

Dr. Ride has received numerous honors and awards. She has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall and has twice been awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal.

For her incredible courage for being the first American Woman in space and her desire to instill in young women a love for the sciences, the San Diego Air & Space Museum takes great pleasure in inducting Doctor Sally Ride into its International Aerospace Hall of Fame.

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