September 11, 2001 obviously affected more important things than the
Sally Ride’s birthday passed by at the end of May and was honored by Google in a doodle. I’ll admit that as a child I wasn’t much for science and math so I didn’t know a whole lot about Sally Ride. Here are a few interesting facts I learned about the late, great Sally Ride.
- Ride was the first American woman astronaut and also to this date, the youngest American to travel in space
- She chose to go into physics instead of pursuing a promising career in tennis. Her hand-eye coordination aided in the creation of the robotic arm on the Challenger space shuttle.
- Ride was the only person to participate in both the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters
- Her sister is a Presbyterian minister
- Sally Ride was the first person to operate a robotic arm in space and use said arm to retrieve a satellite
- From the mid-90s until her death Ride operated two outreach programs, the ISS EarthKAM and the GRAIL MoonKAM with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Both programs allowed middle school students to request images of the Earth and moon from space.
- In 1999, Ride appeared in an episode of Touched By An Angel called “Godspeed”
- She wrote seven books for children all related to space and science
- It was not until after her death in 2012 that it was revealed Ride was a lesbian and had been with her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy for 27 years. They had been childhood friends in Ride’s tennis playing days. She was the first known LGBT astronaut.
- Sally Ride died July 23, 2012 just 17 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
- In 2014, the U.S. Navy revealed a research ship to be named after Ride. The RV Sally Ride (AGOR-28)
- President Barack Obama issued Ride the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, this is the highest civilian award in the US.