Sally Ride

Women in STEM
Women in STEM
Sally Ride

Birth: May 26, 1951

Death: July 23, 2012

Specialty: Physics

Major Contributions:

First American Female in space

Third woman in space

Founder of Sally Ride Science

Image: NASA

You may not need an introduction to astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, who on June 18, 1983, became the first American woman in space aboard the shuttle Challenger, which was followed by a second flight aboard the Challenger in 1984. She spent a little over 14 days in space between the two missions.

While these are amazing accomplishments it is what Dr. Ride did upon returning to Earth that we want to share with you today. Ride had been selected for another mission which was terminated when the Challenger disaster occurred. She was appointed to the presidential commission investigating the accident and helped determine the cause of the explosion.

Ride then became a Special Assistant to the Administrator for long-range and strategic planning at NASA headquarters where she worked until retiring from the agency in 1987.

Sadly, in 2003 when the shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry Dr. Ride was tasked with being on the investigative panel again – making her the only person to serve on both commissions.

She followed her time as an astronaut as a Science Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control and two years later accepted a position as a Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego, and Director of the University’s California Space Institute.

As an advocate for improvement in science education she co-wrote seven science books for children and decided to further use her fame to champion science education for students. In 2001 Ride and a few like-minded individuals founded Sally Ride Science, a company that created a variety of STEM-related educational programs including organizing 100 Sally Ride Science Festivals on U.S. college campuses and creating and running a national engineering design competition.

Sally Ride Science also published 90 STEM and STEM career books that included more than 200 hands-on STEM investigations and trained more than 30,000 teachers which allowed them to reach more than 6 million students to inspire them to look at STEM fields for their futures.

It is through her efforts to inspire and nurture young scientists everywhere that Sally Ride’s legacy lives on.

Written by Angela Goad


Sally Ride Science: Dr. Sally Ride

NASA: Biographical Data, Sally K. Ride

Academy of Achievement: Sally Ride, Ph.D.

See Also:

Sally Ride Science

Time: New Google Doodle Honors First American Woman in Space, Sally Ride

Sally Ride EarthKAM @ Space Camp

JPL Infographics: GRAIL’S MoonKam