Sally Ride

American physicist and astronaut

Dr. Sally Kristen Ride was an American astronaut and astrophysicist. She was the first American woman to reach outer space.

Sally Ride
Sally Ride in 1984.jpg
Ride on July 10, 1984
Sally Kristen Ride

(1951-05-26)May 26, 1951
Encino, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedJuly 23, 2012(2012-07-23) (aged 61)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
EducationStanford University (BS Physics / BA English; MS Physics; Ph.D. Physics)
Steven Hawley
(m. 1982; div. 1987)
Partner(s)Tam O'Shaughnessy (1985–2012; Ride's death)
Space career
NASA astronaut
Time in space
14d 07h 46m
Selection1978 NASA Group
MissionsSTS-7, STS-41-G
Mission insignia
Sts-7-patch.png STS-41-G patch.png
RetirementAugust 15, 1987

Ride was born on May 26, 1951. She was born in Los Angeles, California. She earned a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. She joined NASA in 1978. She was an astronaut until 1987. In order to be an astronaut and go into space, Sally Ride had to train for a year. Training included adapting to gravity, water survival, radio communications, and navigation. She went on the Space Shuttle Challenger in June 1983. This trip was the first time an American woman was in space. She helped design the robot arm for the space shuttle. The robot arm lifts heavy objects in space.[1] Ride was the first person to use the robot arm in space. The robot arm put a satellite in space that showed how the sun affected weather. Ride flew to space twice.[2]

She worked on the commissions that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters. Ride became a professor in 1989. She was the professor of physics and director of the Oklahoma Space Institute at the University of California.

She was married to astronaut Steven Hawley from 1982 until they divorced in 1987. She was dating writer Tam O'Shaughnessy until her death on July 23, 2012 from cancer.[2]


  1. Hannigan, James E. "Ride, Sally Kristen." World Book Advanced, World Book, 2017, Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.
  2. Carnagie, Julie L. et al.  "The 1980s Science and Technology: Headline Makers." UXL American Decades, vol. 9: 1980-1989, UXL, 2003, p. 150. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.