Sally Ride, First American Woman In Space, Dead at 61
In 1983, Ride blasted into space on a Challenger mission with four crewmates. Ride returned to space on another mission one year later and was expected to make a third voyage until it was canceled after the shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, according to NPR.
Ride had a brief stint as a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. She also founded Sally Ride Science, an organization devoted to encouraging science education. NASA released a statement offering condolences on the passing of the space pioneer.
"Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism -- and literally changed the face of America's space program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in the release. "The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally's family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly."
Ride graduated from Stanford University with degrees in physics and English. She is survived by her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy, along with her mother, sister, niece and nephew.