Attended Westlake School for Girls on tennis scholarship, After graduation, she enrolled at Swarthmore University. Left after her first year to see how far tennis would take her. She then concluded she would not take part in a professional athletic career & enrolled at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California & graduated with a bachelors degree in both English & Physics. earned master's degree in 1975 & Ph.D in 1978. As a graduate student, she carried out research in astrophysics & free-electron laser physics.
Trait proved most troubling & difficult?
Most troubling was definitely the fact that she was a woman and her career choice had been for men at first. Throughout various flight programs, the ranks of the astronaut corps were off limits to women. NASA had recruited it's astronauts from the ranks of military test pilots.
How she had overcome her troubles? Her opportunity of a lifetime!
In 1978, NASA set out to recruit more scientists, including women, for the new Space Shuttle program. At 27, she saw the advertisement NASA has placed in Stanford University newspaper, seeking recruits for astronaut corps.
Applying for the NASA job...
She was one of more than 8,000 applicants for only 35 positions, she made the cut, 1of only 6 women accepted for astronaut training that year.
Hard job for a woman!
Her curriculum for preparation included parachute jumping, radio, water survival, gravity & weightlessness training, & flight instruction.
Story that swept through the media!
When she was chosen for the crew of the seventh Shutle mission, STS-7, everyone knew, Sally would be the first American woman to travel in space. Her mission would be the second flight for the vehicle known as the Challenger, & first American space mission to carry a crew of five.
Sally Ride boarded the Challenger on June 18, 1983, & the Challenger roared from the launch pad & into earth orbit. Six-day mission.
Sally returned to space in the Challenger as a Mission Specialist on flight STS 41-G on October 5, 1984. This mission's crew of 7 was NASA's largest yet. eight-day mission. Landed Oct. 13, 1984.
First woman in space. Logged over 343 hours in space after her first two missions. Led NASA's first strategic planning effort, & wrote the report "Leadership & America's Future in Space". She wrote a number of books on space exploration for younger readers. In 1999 & 2000, Ride served as president of Space.com, a website concerning all aspects of space industry. Created clubs and camps of Sally Ride Science mainly for girls. Inspired many.
On Jan. 18, 1986, Challenger fell to pieces a few minutes after take off, the entire crew perished in the catastrophe. Many of them close friends of Sally's from training days. Ride was appointed to the Presidential Commission investigating the accident.
Ending her career
Ride was assigned to NASA's Washington headquarters as Special Assistant to the Administrator for long-range & strategic planning. Before leaving NASA in 1987, she founded the agency's Office of Exploration
After leaving NASA
After two years, Ride was a Science Fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security & Arms Control. In 1989, appointed to Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego, & Director on the UoC Space Institute.
Over the years...
Sally became concerned with the under-representation of women in the sciences. She focused her efforts on the promotion on science in middle grades.
Sally took leave from UoC to focus on her role as president & CEO of Sally Ride Science, a program she founded to create entertaining science programs & publications for students in middle school& upper grades of elementary school.
Her Mission as she had gotten older:
To create support for girls who interests lie in science, math & technology.
NASA space flight medal, NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award. Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame & the Astronaut Hall of Fame